Flanagan gets sponsor’s invite to Masters

BELMONT’S Nick Flanagan will be one of seven Hunter golfers in the field at the Australian Masters starting at Royal Melbourne on Thursday after being granted a sponsor’s invitation.

Flanagan took to Twitter on Sunday night to notify the world of his inclusion, after finishing in a tie for 14th with a three-under 281 (75, 68, 67, 71) at the Australian PGA at Royal Pines.

‘‘Thank you @PGAofAustralia for a great week. Awesome event and truly appreciate the support every year!,’’ Flanagan tweeted.

‘‘And thank you @AussieMasters for the late invite to next week’s event. Royal Melbourne! Yewwwww.’’

Flanagan will join fellow Newcastle and Hunter professionals Nathan Green (Toronto), James Nitties (Charlestown), Aaron Townsend (Charlestown), Leigh McKechnie (Waratah and Newcastle), Brendan Smith (Belmont) and Ed Stedman (The Vintage) at Royal Melbourne.

Another Masters starter will be American Casey Wittenberg, the former Walker Cup representative whom Flanagan defeated to win the US Amateur Championship 10 years ago.

■ Muswellbrook master blaster Kurt Barnes is on track to retain his card on the Japan Tour, climbing to 63rd on the money list after tying for 18th with a two-under 282 (67, 71, 70, 74) at the Heiwa PGM Championship at Miho Golf Club in Kasumigaura at the weekend.

Barnes, who tied for third with a six-under 207 (72, 66, 69) at the Bridgestone Open a fortnight ago, needs to finish inside the top 70 to sidestep qualifying school.

■ Ageless former Manly, NSW and Australian forward Steve ‘‘Beaver’’ Menzies and Catalan Dragons teammate Scott Dureau were among the celebrity players at the Cure For Life day at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley last Friday.

Organiser Kane Bradley said about $18,000 was raised, and it would be shared between the Cure For Life and Mark Hughes Foundation charities.

‘‘It was a great day and we’re already looking at a similar event next year,’’ Bradley said.

Menzies, who turns 40 next month, has finally retired but is contemplating having another season with the Sea Eagles next year – if they are interested in having him.

One of his Australian Test jerseys, which he signed, went for $750 at the memorabilia auction.

He and Dureau took their turn behind the microphone answering questions and telling stories, as did guest of honour Mark Hughes and former Knights teammate Danny Buderus.

Current Knights players Jeremy Smith, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon and Chris Houston played a round then hung around to speak to guests during lunch.

Bradley said the winning team had 17 under off the stick for a nett score of 46.5.

The Cure For Life charity was established to find a cure for brain cancer. Hughes had a malignant brain tumour removed three months ago and is undergoing radiotherapy.

■ Denman’s Cameron Norman won the Paterson Open at his first attempt on Saturday, shooting a seven-over 71 around the par-64 nine-hole course.

Mark Jackson, from Paterson, won the A-grade nett with 58 after a 74 off the stick.

Paterson committee member Brent Eslick was a popular winner of the B-grade nett trophy with 88 off the stick for a nett 60.

■ Hunter River District Golf Association are still taking entries for the Ambrose Fours tournament at Muswellbrook on Sunday.

HRDGA honorary secretary Zig Grzanka said nominations for the final event on the calendar for 2013 were due to close yesterday but he would accept late entries this week on 49345311 while he waits for clubs to submit their forms.

■ The week-long Myall Summer Classic is in full swing at Hawks Nest despite heavy rain on Sunday’s opening day.

A total of 230 starters began yesterday’s opening round and the second round will be played today.

Nick Flanagan

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