THEY grew up playing golf together and have remained good friends ever since.
So it was perhaps fitting that Queanbeyan junior Larry Austin and Canberra’s Matt Millar shared the spoils at the Queanbeyan Pro Am on Tuesday.
Austin and Millar finished tied at two-under par in the event that attracted 216 amateur and professional golfers. They were two of only four golfers to finish under par on the day.
“We’ve got a long history together and we know each other quite well,” Austin said of Millar. “We did our traineeships together and we’ve done a lot of travelling together.
“You never like to share a win with anybody but if I had to share it with anyone, I’m glad it was Matt,” he added with a laugh.
A former Queanbeyan club champion, his golf commitments saw Austin move away from Queanbeyan in 2000 before he spent two years on the Asian tour in 2005 and 2006.
The 36-year-old has since relocated to the South Coast where he has been the head pro at the Tura Beach club for the past eight months.
But the former Karabar High student said he’s always retained a special affinity for Queanbeyan where he first honed his game as a teenager under the tutelage of former long-term club pro Gary Wheatley.
“I grew up in Queanbeyan, won the club championship there and I’ve won most of the other club events in the past as well so I always love to come back to the course,” he said.
“I come back to Queanbeyan to play pretty regularly. But I’d probably had eight attempts at winning the Pro Am in the past 10 years without getting over the line so I was pretty keen to do well and win it this year.”
Having never finished better than fourth at his ‘home’ Pro Am, Austin was lifted to victory at his ninth attempt by his strong form off the tee.
He also managed to compensate for a few early jitters on the greens that almost proved costly.
“I knew I’d been hitting the ball well leading in but it hadn’t really been in competitive situations so I wasn’t too sure how’d I go,” Austin said of his form leading into Tuesday’s Pro Am.
“But my form was pretty good and I hit the ball well from tee to green. I wasn’t really holing my putts early on and I hit a couple of silly bogies but that’s part and parcel of playing golf, you don’t often get 18 perfect holes.”
Meanwhile, Queanbeyan Pro Am’s inaugural $20,000 hole in one prize on the eighth went unclaimed.