Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Brand the Toast of Club; National Vets Championship Win in Canberra

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Brand the Toast of Club; National Vets Championship Win in Canberra

Article excerpt

Ray Rigbye Chips In

GOLF: Gympie Veteran Golfer Merv Brand can now claim the rare distinction of being a national champion after his outstanding performance in the Australian Veteran Golfers Union Championships held in Canberra recently.

Brand, 77, known to his golfing buddies as "The Bandit", joined golf's elite after winning the tournament's D Division amassing 96 stableford points over three rounds at several of the national capital's most challenging courses.

The irrepressible Brand, who lost his left arm as an 18- year-old in a work-related accident in North Queensland, is one of the club's most popular and well regarded members possessing an almost constant cheeriness and an ever willing participant in playful, sometimes cheeky banter.

Brands's win was even more remarkable given that he hadn't played golf for more than a month prior to the championships after breaking two ribs.

"I fell over a log backwards after losing my balance and I hadn't even been drinking," he said

"I didn't have much confidence when I left for Canberra because I hadn't hit a ball in five weeks and at least one of the courses had lots of water which is always a problem when you're not a big hitter."

"If anything let me down it was my putting mainly because the greens are so much quicker than what we're used to in Gympie"

Gympie Vets president Bryan Stallard, who also played in the Canberra Championships, praised Brand's performance describing it as a "fantastic achievement" which he says almost certainly has provided Gympie with its first ever national title holder.

"As far as I can recall, the only major titles won by Gympie players have been state championships, so Merv's win in Canberra is the first national title awarded to a Gympie player," said Stallard.

"The Sunshine Coast Veteran Golfers Association also paid tribute to Merv at last week's zonal meeting and most delegates believe that he is probably the Association's first ever national winner".

Stallard says the Gympie Vets Club is extremely proud of Merv and will recognise his achievement at special presentation early next year. …

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