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Bookie shuts down NSW Open market after plunge by mates

Sat, Nov 12, 8:55am by Staff Writer

A bunch of mates having a few fun bets on one of their own chancing his hand at a professional golf championship have caused a nervous bookmaker to shut their NSW Open betting market.

Mark Hale was quoted at $1001 when markets opened earlier this week, then a bunch of his mates decided they’d have $20 wagers on the Mudgee-based coalminer.

The banter ended up involving about 150 members of a Facebook page having small bets on Hale, whose odds crashed into $151 by the Tuesday before the tournament.

Suddenly, the TAB discovered they carried $800,000 in liability on Hale, who is an 18-time champion at Branxton Golf Club.

It prompted them to shut down the market for the tournament in Stonecutters Ridge in Sydney’s north-west.

“A few mates of mine have a thoroughbred racing punting page on Facebook and they posted up that I was 1000-1 and they just chucking $20 each one me. It’s all the boys from work, the Mudgee community is just so excellent, so supportive,” he told the tournament website

“It (the odds) just kept going down and down and the next thing you know I’m 150-1.”

“They’re all just chucking twenty bucks on. Some people were trying to get on and they were knocking them back and only letting them put a dollar on,” he said.

“Then no one else could get on. It was just for fun.”

Hale wasn’t letting the sudden rush of public expectation impact his preparation for the tournament,

“I’ll hit three wedges, three drivers and a few putts – then straight onto the tee for me. I don’t hit practise balls. I’m not an athlete, as you can see.”

However, as is so often the case, the bookies had the last laugh.

Hale performed quite well over the first two days, but rounds of 71 and 73 saw him miss the halfway cut by four shots.

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