Mark Hale has held on to win the 89th installment of the Mudgee Open on the weekend, by a single shot over nephew Corey Lamb.
Local knowledge proved invaluable, as three of the top four in the open were Mudgee players, with Hale's 143 to claim the Moascar Cup and Andrew Best and John Osborn tied for third.
The Westpac Cup for B-grade was taken out by Graham Boyd with 165. And Osborn also took out the seniors, to complete the local trifecta. The Pond Bennett Meers winner, for the best nett score over the 36 holes, was Justin Griffiths with 132.
While the younger Hales also cleaned up, Mark's son James won the nett in the juniors and daughter Jasmine won the KFC Challenge. Friday's 2BBB scratch winners were Hale and Lamb, nett were Mark Fell and Wayne Foley (Campbeltown).
On Saturday Hale had 70 off the stick to be leading Lamb - a Queensland and NSW junior champion - lurking in the shadows where local legends Best, Osbourn and a host of visitors. In the B-grade Peter McFarlane and Graham Boyd where tied on 83 with locals chasing them.
Sunday saw Hale off to a flyer, being two under with a five-shot lead on his nephew from The Vintage, but a bit of a middle round collapse and Lamb was within one shot with two holes to play. However, Hale showed there's a bit of fight in the ole dog yet, hanging on to win his second Mudgee Open by just the one shot.
In the B-grade, Boyd was on fire early jumping out to a four shot lead before hanging on to win by six shots. Osborn won the seniors by the length of the straight at Mudgee race track and Justin Griffiths won the nett by just as far.
Hale said he was "cruising" before "the putter deserted me", leading to the tight finish. And that being paired with Lamb meant he was right there as he pushed him to the end.
"I was even playing with him, so we knew what was going on and had a bit of a challenge," Hale said.
"I had been out to about five in front at one stage, then I choked - finished with four bogeys in the last six and he had two birdies and a bogey. So it was really tight with two holes to go, which I parred to keep it together."
With over 220 players lining up, it was the biggest Mudgee Open since 2005.
"There was massive support again from Golf clubs from all over NSW; Dunheved; Twin Creeks; Leonay; Campbeltown; Karuah; Toronto; Asquith; and Muswellbrook. And one player even came back from Singapore where he lives now, for his 32nd Mudgee Open, he says its the best open in the world," Hale said.
Next year the event is set to celebrate nine decades. Thanks go to; Ash Diprose and the team from sponsors Flight Centre; Jason Seis and the green staff; pro Peter Mayson; the kitchen and bar staff and all volunteers.