Local duo Greg Hutchesson and Chris Holden were surprise winners of the 2013 Elders South East Pairs Ambrose Championships at Penola Golf Club over the weekend.
The event in the past has attracted some of the best golfers in the South East to compete for over $1000 in prizes, courtesy of Elders Penola.
The field was down a little this year with 72 players competing, but most notably, the absence of some of the near scratch golfers meant that this year it would be a wide open event.
In almost perfect warm and tropical conditions, the course was at its prime to give players the best chance to score well.
Mid sixties were tipped to win, but in the end there was a bottle neck at the top, with Holden and Hutchesson shooting 69 to be the early club house leaders.
The Blue Lake team of Bill Burley and Matt Jennings also came in with 68 off the beater to force a play-off.
The local boys won the toss and Hutchesson hit first in front of a large crowd of onlookers.
Hutchesson hit a near perfect shot to within five feet of the pin to put the pressure on Burley and Jennings.
Holden also put his ball on the green, then watched both Burley and Jennings go over the back.
They recovered to be a good chance of making par, but Hutchesson made no mistake with the putt for birdie, which gave them the unlikely win.
Holden shrugged off the disappointment of losing the B Grade Championship the week before to play much more fluent golf and lead the way for the duo.
The pair racked up five birdies on the back nine for 32 to set up the win.
The runners-up Bill Burley and Matt Jennings made plenty of birdies as well, but a bogey on the par 3 13th was a costly blemish.
In third place were their playing partners, Tony Brooks and Mark Dalton, also from Blue Lake.
A 33 on the back nine was enough to take third in a countback over John Mossop and John Monfries.
In the handicap competitions, Steven Skeer and Ross Anderson combined beautifully to score nett 62.25 for a comfortable win.
In matching outfits of thinning stripes, Skeer coached Anderson brilliantly on how to putt on the Penola greens, and they hardly missed a beat.
They had three birdies for the day with only two bogeys.
Runners-up were the Mount Gambier youngsters, Caleb Perry and Joel Weijens, who had nett 63 after a bogey free round.
The Lucindale pair of Pitt and Copping had nett 64 to finish in third place thanks to three birdies on the back nine.
Finishing fourth was Lachie Stewart and Jack Hassell to pick up their second prize in as many years.
Lion Nathan were generous sponsers, with a carton of beer up for grabs for each of the nearest pins on every hole and three longest drives.
There were plenty of happy golfers who went home with a prize.
With the smell of freshly barbecued seafood skewers and secret recipe hamburgers wafting across the course, players were well looked after thanks to Steven Hill from Elders Penola.
The tournament is in its third year and is still building to be one of the more prestigious events on the calendar.
The course was in superb condition and players from around the South East commented positively on the course layout.
The event will continue in 2014, around the last Sunday in October and hoped to once again get close to 100 entries.
Awesome Agnew cruises to sixth title
Jock Agnew put in another near flawless effort to capture his sixth Patrick of Coonawarra Penola Golf Club Open Club Championship. Despite three hip replacements, no tendons in his right shoulder, a dodgy knee and general old age, Agnew showed no signs of weakness to become Penola’s oldest Open Champion. In a match where the combatants has over 70 years of golf experience, Agnew proved too strong for his even more senior opponent, Don Ferguson.
Ferguson started the better with a par on the first to go one up. That bogey was one of the few blemishes on Agnew’s card as he reeled off four straight pars to go two up thru five. Things were not helped for Ferguson when he broke his 3-iron on the 10th after hitting more turf on his swing than anticipated.
He continued to apply the pressure with multiple pars and it took until the 14th before Ferguson won another hole, by that stage he was five down. Agnew responded with two pars and a birdie to go eight up before Ferguson birdied the 18th for another rare win.
Agnew didn’t let up after the break and started with four pars to go nine up after 22. After 25 holes Agnew was still eight up and in full command. To rub salt into the wounds, he looked like he was going to lose the 26th hole (8th) after hitting trees. After three shots he was still about 140m out on the 10th fairway with no view of the green. He managed to hit an incredible shot to within four feet. He sunk his par putt and Ferguson’s hopes as he went 10 up with 10 to play. He completed the win with a par on the 27th for a comprehensive 11&9 win. Agnew was four over the card for the day and another robotic performance, like Norwood’s defence, saw him squeeze the life out of his opponent.
It was another well-deserved victory for Agnew who has now beaten six different players in his six wins. His form was patchy up to the championships, but like all champion sportsman, he came to the party when it mattered most. Ferguson can be commended on making the final, but unfortunately he was outclassed on the day.
Stump gets the better of Holden
The B-Grade final was one for the underdog as David ‘Stump’ Murray pushed away some poor form to play well when it mattered and take out the title. His lead up preparation hadn’t been ideal, but there were signs of improvement during his round the day prior. Chris Holden was the favourite leading in, after almost qualifying for the Open finals. He had looked reasonable consistent, although a lack of golf was always going to be a factor when it came to the pressure of his short game.
Stump started the better going two up after two holes. Holden hit back in the next seven holes and went one up after eight. From then on the two traded wins, losses and halves without either taking advantage. The score remained the same at the half way point and it looked like an epic contest was on the cards.
Holden took the advantage after the break and after 24 holes he was two up. Murray turned on the afterburners and won the next five holes as he rattled off pars to be three up after 28 holes. They traded holes again for a while, but with three holes to go the deficit remained at three. Murray finished the job with a win to take out the title 4&2. He was only two over the card for the last ten holes; a scorecard Ferguson would have loved to have had. This was Murray’s first win in the B-Grade in a good result for Murray’s all round the world in 2013. Unfortunately, it was not such a great day for Holden supporters as they had to settle for second at Penola Golf Club as well.
Cheers Bill on the win
Bill Cheers has won his first championship at Penola Golf Club with a win in the C-Grade. He was up against Tarpeena’s great hope, John Wilkinson. In a close battle, Cheers seemed to always keep his nose in front without ever breaking away. Just when he thought he had the momentum, Wilkinson chipped and putted his way back into the game.
One of the determining moments came after the break where Cheers won three in a row to go four up after 21 holes. Wilkinson didn’t give up and after a birdie on the 25th, he was back within two. The margin stayed at this score right up to the 31st hole. Cheers stepped up again and won two in a row to take the title 4&3. Cheers was driving straight all day, whilst Wilkinson was true to form, and you never knew what you were going to get. Wilkinson was runner up for the second year in a row, but one thinks a win isn’t that far away.
Stephenson goes back to back
Matt Stephenson has gone back to back when he took out the D-Grade club championship. After just missing out on qualifying in C-Grade, Stephenson went in a strong favourite to retain his title. A sore back made the task more difficult; compounded early by Ant Mathys playing good golf. Mathys was one up after 7 holes and increased this lead to two after 12 holes. A bad patch for Mathys saw him surrender two holes and the lead and at the half way point, Stephenson has edged his way in front. Like his fellow Tarpenite, Mathys game seem to lose a bit of momentum after the break and Stephenson capitalised. He picked up wins on the 19th, 20th, 24th, 25th to be 5 up as they headed down the final nine holes. Two more wins put Mathys dormie seven and Stephenson finished the match in style on the 31st (13th) with a sensational chip to within a centimetre of the hole for a certain par. He finished a 7&5 winner and left the Tarpeena dream in tatters with Mathys going down. One thing is for sure, Mathys will be back next year for another crack at the elusive title.
The weather conditions presented a challenge to the competitors in the women’s championships with cold, windy conditions and showers during the day.
The open championships between Judith Georgeson and Claire Mossop over 36 holes was an even contest with seasoned competitor Judith winning the event on the 34th hole 3 and 2. The game see sawed all day with no-one having more than a 3 hole advantage.
Claire Larkin and Lee-Anne Medhurst had an epic battle in the B Grade. They were all square after 18 holes and Claire managed to take a 2 hole advantage in the last 9 with Lee-Anne unable to bridge that gap. They finished on the 26th hole with Claire winning 2 and 1.
Liz Copping has just returned to golf after years of absence and she met consistent golfer Margaret Murray in the C Grade.
This resulted in a win for Liz 3 and 2.
All the matches were evenly contested and the competitors were presented with bottles of wine by Matt Stephenson on behalf of sponsor Patrick of Coonawarra.
FERGUSON AND AGNEW TO TEE-OFF IN PENOLA GOLF CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS
Club veterans Don Ferguson and Jock Agnew have made it through to the open final of the Patrick of Coonawarra Penola Golf Club Championships to be played on Sunday.
Finishing one and two respectively after qualifying, they were a good chance to make the final, however, both had very different journeys into the final.
Agnew had an easier run through after a forfeit in the morning due to John Mossop having back issues.
Apparently a last minute call up to the physio was to no avail as no one could reach the top of his back to iron out the kinks.
Agnew then faced Jeremy Briggs in the afternoon and was robotic as ever as he cruised out to a six hole lead after 12 holes.
After 14 holes, Agnew was only one over the card and sealed the match on the 15th to score a four and three win.
Earlier in the morning, Briggs defeated Greg Hutchesson 3/1 to make the semi.
The ever confident Don Ferguson had a harder run to the final, playing 36 holes to Agnew's only 15.
He had a challenging match first up against Peter Walker, winning four and two.
Walker couldn't match his form from the day before, but was valiant in defeat.
The semi-final against Nathan Williams was much more challenging, going down the 20th.
In somewhat of an anti-climax, Williams played the wrong ball out of the rough and therefore was not able to find his second shot.
As Williams ran out of time, Ferguson's cart ran out of batteries and had to be towed back after Williams conceded the hole.
Ferguson had a chance to win the match earlier on the 18th, but missed a simple four footer up the hill to extend the match to the 19th.
He will need to make the putts drop if he is any chance of beating Agnew on Sunday.
This was the second close match "Schnitzel" had for the day, after going all the way down the 18th with Lindsay Storer in the quarter final in the morning.
The final promises to be an absorbing battle between the two former Millicent players, who are yet to ever meet in match play format.
Agnew would have to start favourite after much success over the past few years.
He also has the ability to play flawless golf, whereas Ferguson is likely to see plenty of the countryside.
Agnew's match fitness could be the only issue - his tired old body could struggle to go the distance, however, if things go to plan, Agnew son't need the full 36 holes.
MURRAY AND HOLDEN TO BATTLE IT OUT
The B Grade followed a similar plot line to the Open, with the two top qualified players, Chris Holden and David Murray making the final.
Both players were also keen to make amends after their shock first round losses last year to more unfancied opponents.
Both also had byes as a number of last minute withdrawals decimated the grade.
Holden won this event two years ago and will be keen to add a second trophy to the cabinet.
Murray will be also keen to win and is a proven performer in past finals.
To get to the final, Murray defeated Andrew Hutchesson in a close match.
Both players had no problem getting to the green all day, however, Hutchesson struggled to make crucial putts when it counted.
Murray eventually got over the line on the 18th when Senior's bold chip attempt flew past the hole and past the green, gifting Murray the win.
Holden defeated Tony Gleeson in the semi-final in a dominating display winning six and five, in what is ominous signs for the final.
Defeating your boss is always fraught with danger, and one would imaging Holden will have plenty of bins to clean come Tuesday morning.
In the morning quarter finals, Gleeson defeated Shane Anderson in a close match after Anderson's game unraveled on the back nine.
Hutchesson defeated Peter Docking 4/3 in a strong performance.
It will be a tight battle with Holden going in slight favourite.
Murray has showed he is capable of putting together very good nine hole efforts, but he will need to eliminate the bad patches if he is to prevail.
WILKINSON AND CHEERS IN C GRADE FINAL
John Wilkinson and Bill Cheers both progressed to the final of the C Grade after good wins in their respective semi-finals.
Wilkinson did it the hard way, winning two finals on his way to the grand finale.
He defeated David Boyd in the morning before knocking off a rather shady Mal Redman in the afternoon.
The score in this match was three and two.
Bill Cheers had a bye in the morning before defeating Robert Kuhl three and two in the afternoon.
The final looks to be an even contest with both players unpredictable at the best of times.
Cheers' ability to miss short putts is match by Wilkinson's ability to spray drives in many directions.
There will either be cheers or two thumbs up at the conclusion of the event.
STEPHENSON AIMS TO GO BACK-TO-BACK
Matt Stephenson is aiming to go back to back in the D Grade as he takes on Ant Mathys in the final.
Stephenson defeated Trevor Williams in semi-final three and one in what was a tougher match than handicaps would suggest.
Mathys on the other hand had an easier match as he beat the inexperienced Curt Evans on the 13th seven and five.
Mathys will be keen to win his first championship, but Stephenson will be a tough challenge.
Both will be wanting to play the best golf to get away to a good start.
Stephenson will start favourite to go back-to-back, but Mathys will have the advantage of knowing where the holes are.
8.30am - D Grade: Matt Stephenson v Ant Mathys
8.45am - C Grade: John Wilkinson v Bill Cheers
9.00am - B Grade: Chris Holden v David Murray
9.15am - Open: Jock Agnew v Don Ferguson
9.30am - Open
9.45am - B Grade
10.00am - C Grade
The sun greeted 24 golfers who took to the Penola Golf Club layout on the weekend for the Bernie Flood Conveyancing Monthly Medal.
Although the weather was pleasant, a stiff breeze made scoring difficult for the big hitters who managed to get their balls above the tree line.
The score of the day came from B grader, Peter Walker, who was once again the standout performer, proving that you don't need to hit a long ball but as long as you can get close to the green it is only a chip and a putt.
His 78 off the stick for a nett 65, proved this with only 24 putts with the flat stick.
Runner-up David Boyd - who put his hand up for the loudest shirt - fired a nett 69 which on any other day may have won.
Garry McCormack from the Mount Gambier Golf Club enjoyed his visit with a nett 74.
In the A grade Nathan Williams fired a lazy 78 for a nett 70 for the win.
He also had a good day with the putter to share the spoils with Walker with 24 putts also.
Jock Agnew played his usual boring straight down the middle golf to get the runner-up with a nett 71.
Jeremy Briggs came in a distant thrid with a lazy nett 75.
The C grade was once again won by Dean Moore with a nett 69 who took "Stump" to the laundry to win his way to the next round of the Top Dog.
Sam Hill had a very competitive score of nett 70 which will once again see him come under the watchful eye of the handicapper.
Third was Ant Mathys who used his knowledge of the pin placements to score a handy nett 71, although some say he may have had the luckiest break known to man on the 13th.
His tee shot sailed gracefully straight over Krongart Road heading for the paddock. The only saving grace was the tree that gave the ball a "Rick O'Shea" back onto the green to end up just short of the nearest the pin.
Some players get all the luck.
Nearest the pin winners were David Anderson on the seventh, Nathan Williams on the ninth and Greg Hutchesson on the 13th with Jeremy Briggs having the best second on the 11th.
Long drive winners were Williams, Bill Cheers and Sam Hill for the ABC grades respectively.
This week will be a stableford round with Steven Skeer down for starting duties.