TEAM Western Australia (WA) has made a triumphant return to the Maccabi Australia Presidents Cup golf tournament, not only entering it for the first time since holding the trophy in 2019, but hosting and winning the 2023 edition last week, at Perth’s two top notch championship golf courses at the Vines Resort.
Played in perfect, sunny conditions from February 24-26, team WA established a handy lead on the opening day, and successfully defended it to win overall on 16.5 points, followed closely by team Victoria on 13.5 points, while defending champions NSW came third on just six points.
The annual three-state, three-day tournament was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and travel restrictions prevented team WA from playing in the tournament last year, which was held in Victoria.
With the talented Gomer brothers – Daniel and Kevin – in great form for team WA, supported by solid performances all-round by their 10 teammates, the hosts raced to six points after the first day’s better-ball Stableford teams match play round, while the two eastern states only managed to win two points each.
Day two’s best-ball teams format saw WA earn another five points, but Victoria kept in touch by winning 3.5 points, and NSW had their worst day, winning no points.
The third and final day’s individual handicap match play round was a good contest between WA and Victoria, with the latter dominating by winning eight out of their 12 individual matches, but falling short of a comeback win.
Team NSW improved on day three, but had to settle for last place.
WA captain Ian Schwartz told The AJN that it was “a privilege and an honour” for Maccabi WA Golf to host the event at the Vines Resort – where it was last held 12 years ago – especially as team WA had not been able to play Presidents Cup golf for the last three years.
And to win it was the cherry on top.
“We were originally meant to be host in 2020, so I ended up planning and organising it at least three times, so it was very exciting to finally host it,” Schwartz said.
“And typical of Perth at this time of year, the city turned on the heat and the sunshine.
“To have 36 Jewish players from three states playing golf here together, and enjoying catching up over dinner, was a wonderful thing, and while the tournament was played in a competitive manner, it was also full of the Maccabi spirit and camaraderie.
“It’s always a special tournament, and for us, it’s probably only second to the golf at the Maccabiah Games.
“Going into the tournament, I thought that NSW were definitely the strongest team on paper, and would probably win it again, but it didn’t pan out that way.
“To their credit, team Victoria did very well, and have a team full of experienced, seasoned players.
“I was very happy and proud of our [team WA’s] performance throughout, and particularly by the very talented Gomer brothers, who are in their 40s, and both very talented.
“They don’t get to play golf too often these days, but they’re absolute naturals at the game, and played brilliantly.
“Another thing that was really pleasing was that 50 per cent of our team are aged under 50, so that was great to see younger talent coming through in our community.”
Team Victoria captain Peter Janovic said team WA deserved its victory, but he was proud of how his team fought all the way.
“Going into this tournament, I thought we were the number three seed – and we were even, in good humour, referred to as the tournament’s Dad’s Army,” Janovic said.
“Our youngest member of the team was 56, but you know, having so many experienced players worked well for us.
“Team WA blitzed us on the first day, but we really gave it a good shake on the final day.
“The camaraderie was really good between all the teams, and WA did a great job as hosts.”
Adding to the friendly team rivalry and banter was the fact that father and son – Allen (Victoria) and Daniel Garb (NSW) – were in opposing teams.
The team line-ups were:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Ian Schwartz (captain), Arron Zamel, Claude and Laurence Fuhr, Cliff Rostowsky, Daniel and Kevin Gomer, Jonathan Myerson, Josh Ellison, Len Hertzman, Mark Mosbach, Sol Hart.
VICTORIA – Peter Janovic (captain), Morris Davidson, Michael Diamond, Joe Dorfman, Steve Ehrenreich, Allen Garb, Colin Goldman, Alan Goldstone, Clive Green, Richard Lew, Ian Rubinstein, Philip Weeden.
NSW – Craig Maltz (captain), Tony Abrahamson, Yoram Drutman, Daniel Garb, David Greek, David Grossman, Mark Grynberg, Jonathan Milner, Jason Odze, Steven Rosen, Mark Sacks, Graham Shulman.