BIG WINS: 12-year-old Mary Golder came first in the Greg Norman Masters Golf Competition last week.
BIG WINS: 12-year-old Mary Golder came first in the Greg Norman Masters Golf Competition last week. Ebony Graveur

Mary pips nation's best

A 12-year-old Dalby girl took just 305 shots over four days to claim the 72-hole Greg Norman Masters on the Gold Coast.

Mary Golder won the contest by two shots from a field of 50-70, after a struggle with runner-up Claire Shin, from Sydney.

Players had to qualify to take part in the December 9-13 tournament at Robina Woods course and the Colonial course.

"You have to win another Golf Queensland event before you can even play,” Golder said.

She said competitors hailed from as far as Cairns and Sydney.

Top-ranked Golder said she was nervous during the last part of the game.

"I was three behind the leader,” she said.

Claire Shin and Golder were neck and neck, with the former having handicap of zero.

"She's on scratch: It's one of the best handicaps you can have,” Golder said.

"I was on six, now I'm on three.”

"It's (calculated on) how many shots you take before you get the ball in the hole.”

The stiff competition is why Golder loves the game and she pulled through to win.

Proud father James Golder said he was not a golfer.

"I'm hopeless at it,” he said. "It's actually pretty embarrassing.

"I'm just happy that she's achieved what she's been working hard for.”

While neither of her parents play, Golder practises at least six times a week.

Her grandmother, Mavis Sting, introduced her to the sport, with Golder swinging the club for the first time around the age most children start becoming comfortable with walking.

"I first tried it when I was two or three,” she said.

"But I started practising when I was five or six.”

Now she plays regularly against Sting, often winning.

"She's 81 and she plays quite often but she doesn't practise, she just plays.”

Golder said her grandmother played well but she still pipped her regularly.

Golder said the fun of the game came from the competition.

"It gives you a reason to play well,” she said.

She thanked her coaches and her parents for their continued support.


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