The Lake Macquarie Championship was first
held in 1958 when a field of 140 competitors
headed by Australian Amateur Champion
Barry Warren, 1956 N.S.W. Champion Phil
Billings and state team members Jack
McCarthy and Bruce Devlin teed off.
The tournament was played over 54 holes and
the first champion was Bruce Devlin who
defeated Phil Billings.
This result was reversed in 1959 and again in
1961 when Billings won his third straight title.
The 1959 tournament was held over 72 holes
the first time a 72-hole championship had
been held outside of Sydney.
Devlin went on to a great international career
on the Professional circuit while Billings who
won the tournament again in 1964, 65,66 and
74 chose to stay amateur and captained
Australia to victory in the Eisenhower Cup.
Jack Newton won the junior section in 1966
and 68 before winning the championship (and
the junior) in 1969. Rodger Davis won at his
only attempt in 1973.
State Champion Don Sharp was successful in
1970, 71 and 77 while Eisenhower Team
member and Australian Amateur Champion;
Colin Kaye was also a three-time winner with
success in 1975,76 and 79.
Tony Jones 1967 and State Representative
Bruce Boyle 1972 joined Phil Billings as the
only host club members to win the
In 1978 the event took the next step when it
went "International" for the first time.
Sponsored by Norman Ross and televised by
NBN, Teams from the U.S.
(Lee Davis and Kemp Richardson) and New
Zealand (Geoff Clark and Alex Bonnington)
teed up against teams from New Guinea and
all Australian States including Queensland's
rising stars Peter Senior and Ossie Moore. Ray
Carlin from Merewether overcame all players,
and a second round washed out by rain, to win
by two shots over Australian Amateur
Champion Tony Gresham. Belmont's Gary
Tozer won the junior event from Victoria's
Gerard Power held off the strong U.S.
challenge from Mike Gove and U.S. Amateur
Champion Mark O'Meara as well as Australian
Champions Tony Gresham and Peter Sweeney
in his 1980 victory.
1981 saw the first International victory when
Englishman Rodger Chapman triumphed over
three-time winner Colin Kaye.
American Curt Byrum set the tournament
record of 283 in his 1982 victory over a field,
which included runner up Jeff Senior, Tony
Gresham, Colin Kaye, England's Richard
Boxall, Gerry Power, Roger McKay, Paul
Hartstone (N.Z.) and Fijians Vilikesa Kalou and
Internationals completed a treble of victories
in 1983 when Scottish Amateur Champion
Colin Dalgleish held off West Australians Glenn
Carbon, Roger McKay and U.S. player Duffy
American Jamie Crow shot a tournament
record 10 under par while unbelievably sipping
cans of Tooheys beer in his 1984 win over
Glenn Carbon with Chris Longley, Phil Billings
and Don Sharp tied for third.
Ray Picker from Cowra beat a young Brett
Ogle and Gerard Power in a three way play off
for the 1985 Championship which was
sponsored by P.G.H. Bricks, then in 1986
Peter O'Malley became only the third player
(joining Newton and Billings) to claim both the
junior and senior title, with his win over Mark
Nash, Ray Picker and Englishman Peter Baker.
Scottish and unofficial World Champion Colin
Montgomerie was a pronounced favourite for
the 1987 event, but never really fired and it
was left to Shane Robinson and Steven Taylor
to fight out one of the best and most exciting
finishes to the tournament. Both players went
shot for shot over the final 9 holes in 32
strokes, followed by a three-hole play off, in
which Robinson was successful after a birdie
at the 17th.
Big Englishman Russel Claydon and strong
winds blew the field away with his six shot
victory in 1989. Two weeks later the 'Great
White Kipper' or the 'Giant from Gog Magog'
as he became known in the press, almost
pulled off an amazing upset when he went
head for head with Greg Norman to defeat
everyone bar the great man himself in the
Ricky Willison (Eng) overcame Kemp
Richardson (US) and Phil Tataurangi (NZ) in
an all-international finish in 1990, after
Richardson had set a course record 63 in the
opening round. Australians won the next three
tournaments with victories to Shane Tait in
the 1991 event, an impressive Stephen Leaney
in 1992 and Stephen Collins in 1993. Collins
victory came at the expense of Kiwis Michael
Campbell and Phil Tataurangi who were
favourites after their Countries' Eisenhower
Cup success. New Zealand did not have to
wait long however when Marcus Wheelhouse
became the first successful Kiwi winning the
1994 event, which was sponsored by Premier
Concrete. Lester Peterson's added the 1995
tournament to his already impressive list of
achievements with a record 276 (12 under).
Nathan Green from the nearby Waratah club
was runner up. Victorian Steve Allan later
referred to as the 'Baby Faced Assassin'
defeated Brendon Jones in 1996.
Geoff Ogilvy stamped himself as a player of
the future with a tournament low 274 in his
victory over Bryce MacDonald, Brett Rumford
and Scott Strange in 1997, while Englishman
Shaun Webster equalled the course record 63
in the second round. This year was also the
40th anniversary of the event and was
preceded by a Pro Am featuring many former
competitors. Victory in this event went to
Steve Alker from New Zealand.
1998 saw Brett Rumford defeat Englishman
Gary Wolstenholme on the last hole of a
three-hole play off while Brad McIntosh beat
17 yr old rising star Justin Rose for the junior
title. Only a few months later Rose became
famous worldwide for his great finish in the
British Open Championship.
John Sutherland was a surprise winner over
Kim Felton and Scott Strange in 1999 while
Brad McIntosh again beat a rising superstar
when he defeated Aaron Baddely in a playoff
for the junior title.
Scott Strange continued his good form at
Belmont with a win over a hot field in 2000.
His opening 66 in driving rain and at times
gale force winds was one of the great rounds
of the event. Runner up was Luke Donald and
tied for third were Paul Casey, Andrew
Webster and Scott Gardiner. Tournament
organisers considered Englishmen Donald the
NCAA winner and Casey rated the number one
player in college golf (US) were two of the
most talented players ever to play in the
The talented Englishman saga continued in
2001 when 18 yr old Nick Dougherty lived up
to his huge reputation beating Luke Hickmott
in a play off. Dougherty, a protÃ©gÃ© of Nick
Faldo, impressed everyone but unfortunately
will not be defending his title in 2002, as he
turned professional after the Walker Cup.
Tournament watchers will follow with interest
his professional career as well as those of
Donald and Casey.
2001 saw the format for the tournament
change when a pre-qualifying was introduced.
This was to afford more players an
opportunity to compete and to ensure the field
was made up of the best and "in form"
players, rather than relying solely on
handicaps as the selection criteria. The pre
qual proved most successful with 135 players
vying for 73 positions. A score of 76 was
enough to ensure a place in the field.
Since 1995 The Greater Building Society and
NBN Television have sponsored the
tournament jointly as major sponsors along
with several minor sponsors headed by
Premier Concrete. The Greater Building
Society and NBN Television have agreed to
sponsor the tournament for five years from
2002 and for it will forthwith be known as the
Greater Building Society International Amateur
The field for the 2002 tournament once again
contained the best amateurs in the world with
early favourites Robert Hamilton (Runner-up
in the U.S. Amateur), Adam Groom (NSW)
and Tim Wilkinson (NZ). Both Adam and Tim
finished ahead of Tiger Woods in the NZ Open,
Australian Amateur champion Andrew Buckle
and Irishman Graeme McDowell who was
rated by all Europeans as the best amateur in
The field was very open with four Englishmen
including 1998 Lake Macquarie runner-up Gary
Wolstenholme and, for the first time, tow
Canadians plus a host of talented Australians.
England's Daniel Wardrop set the tone for the
tournament with an opening 64. Luke Hickmott
led after 36 holes at 10 under par. Andrew
Buckle and Chris Campbell led after 54 holes
at 14 under.
Chris Campbell was the eventual winner after
a final round 66 and new tournament record of
20 under par. Queenslanders Andrew Buckle
and John O'Sullivan tied for second at 18
The cut of one over par was also a
Jarrod Lyle (Victoria) was the successful
entrant for the 2003 Tournament and followed
this with another win in the 2004 Tournament.
Danny Lee kicked off his memorable 2008
with a win here at the Lake MacQuarie