1986 South Australia Open
Kooyonga Golf Club
Adelaide, South Australia

Shark Takes Sixth Straight

The one-man band which thousands of fans paid to witness – Greg Norman marching to his sixth victory in succession – came home with a crash of cymbals in the West End – Adelaide Casino $100,000 South Australian Open at Kooyonga.

Norman, three strokes behind at the start of day, simply turned on a virtuoso performance, a seven-under par 65 course record, to defeat David Graham by three strokes and earn loud and worthy curtain calls from the biggest gallery ever seen on a final day in Adelaide.

Bob Shearer and Peter Senior shared third place, five strokes behind.

The Shark’s 65, which included seven birdies and an eagle, was said the wily golf followers in the golf-starved city, every bit as good as the pair of 62s by Gary Player and a 63 by Jack Nicklaus when the former won the Australian Open on the same course nearly 20 years ago.

On that occasion, however, the Open had been switched to Kooyonga at the last minute because Royal Queensland suffered a drought.

Kooyonga was defenseless – the fairways wide open and hard and running as the Grand Prix circuit.

The Player-Nicklaus onslaught caused the course to be tightened and changed into a holy terror when set up for a championship.

Wayne Grady’s 66 set in January 1983 became a new record.

Norman’s 65 in the chilly conditions was, say many, equal to Player’s 62.

The Shark was out in 34, three-under par and home in 31, four under.

The turning point came at the 500-yard ninth with a drive and three iron second shot from 215 yards out to a small, elevated target.

The ball stopped within two feet of the hole and the short putt for the eagle three put him a stroke behind Graham.

The sensational shot was the beginning of the end.

“Everything clicked into place,” said Norman.

Home in 31 with five birdies and a bogey left Graham to make the comment: “Just nobody can beat that.”

The question now is who can stop the maestro of world golf wining this week’s $185,000 Toshiba Australian PGA championship at Castle Hill in Sydney.

Graham Marsh and Terry Gale will be back where they belong… in Australia and supporting the local circuit and its sponsors.

But it is doubtful this pair can muster a sufficient armory of shots to stop the Shark’s seemingly invincible and relentless charge to his seventh tournament victory in succession.

The course is defenseless against Norman’s brand of attacking golf.

Organizers tried to stop him at Castle Hill last year with a rather silly tactic halfway through the tournament.

They placed potted trees along the right hand side of tees in an attempt to stop him taking short cuts at doglegs. They failed dismally.

It would be a brave man who would bet against Norman completing another winning encore this week.