Ian ‘Jock’ Agnew has staved off a determined Lindsay Storer to win his 8th Penola Golf Club Open Championship at the Penola Golf Club on Sunday. Incredibly, Agnew has been undefeated in the final 8 times and this was the first time he was paying someone he has beaten previously. After missing the past two years due to injury, it has been an amazing comeback for Agnew to win again despite his body not containing too many of its original parts.
After a gruelling six weeks of qualifying, the players were treated to a glorious spring day and the course in immaculate condition in which to play their 36 hole match play finals. Both the men’s and women’s championship are played on the same day which brought out a big crowd. The gallery was treated to some exciting golf, with the ladies B-Grade match decided on the last hole.
In the feature men’s event, the Patrick of Coonawarra Open Championship, seven time winner Jock Agnew took on Lindsay Storer. The match may not go down as one of the highest quality, with both players making crucial errors around the green. However, this was made up by the close contest and the willingness of both players to win.
The match started out with players trading pars before Agnew got out to a slender lead. Storer pegged this back after a few uncharacteristic Agnew errors before Agnew got back out in front by one shot at the halfway point.
After a belly full of soup and sandwiches, the players headed out for the afternoon session. Both players continued to mix scratchy golf with moments of brilliance, making for an absorbing contest. The experience of Agnew was telling and after Storer struggled to exit the bunker on the 31st (13th) hole, Agnew had taken a telling three hole lead with five to play. When Storer’s putt on the 33rd hole slipped past, Agnew tapped in for the hole win and a nervy 4&3 victory.
Kidman too good for Anderson
In the B-Grade, George Kidman proved too good for Shane Anderson. Kidman who only just missed out on qualifying for the Open was on a mission form the start. With long and straight drives and pin point irons, he parred the first three holes and went three up very quickly. Anderson pegged one back before Kidman parred three of the last four holes on the nine to be five in front as they passed the clubhouse for the first time.
With the esky restocked, Anderson won the next three holes to get back to two down. An unlucky run where for four holes in a row, Anderson had putts rim out swung the contest back in Kidman’s favour. To add to Anderson’s pain, Kidman started sinking some bombs, which stretched his lead out to seven at the half way point. At this stage Kidman had had eleven pars, which is super golf in any grade.
After the break Anderson worked hard to peg back a few shots and made it an absorbing contest with the gallery appreciating the great golf being played. Anderson was able to match Kidman as they both drove the ball superbly and made some excellent putts, but he couldn’t make any ground on him. In the end, Kidman’s morning round had set him up for win as they finished on the 31st hole, Kidman taking his second B-Grade title 7&5. It was a dominant display from Kidman who was in great form in all areas, hitting 16 pars in the 31 holes played. Anderson tried hard but Kidman was a deserved winner, too strong on the day.
Skeer edges out McPherson
In the closest match of the day in the men’s finals, Steven Skeer did enough to edge out Shane McPherson on the 35th hole to win his third C-Grade title. However, it was not all easy going for Skeer who fell 5 holes behind early in the match. McPherson was making pars look easy and when he hit to within a foot on the 9th, he had gone five holes clear.
The experienced Skeer never gave in and started to claw his way back. At the halfway point, he had pegged back the lead to one hole. The afternoon session was much closer with both players taking the lead at various points. Skeer held a small lead as the game moved into the final few holes; when he went two up with two to play, he could smell victory.
A wayward drive and third shot on the 35th hole didn’t help McPherson as he could only bogey the hole. Skeer only had to hole in two from close range to halve the hole, which he did comfortable to win the title, winning 3&1. McPherson is yet to win a championship, but he is getting closer and one thinks he wouldn’t be too far away from his maiden victory in the next few years. It has been 11 years since Skeer last won, so it was a well-deserved victory.
Cheers wins Julian Street battle
Bill Cheers and Robert ‘Blue’ Kuhl battled it out to see who would be the champion of Julian Street in the D-Grade final. Kuhl started poorly as Cheers played steady golf to capitalise. It didn’t take long for Cheers to race out to a six hole lead, with Kuhl trying his best to get back into some sort of form. He did recover somewhat and the lead had been reduced to two by the halfway mark.
The break in play seemed to break his momentum. As according to his caddy, he ‘butchered the next five holes’ after the break. Cheers was driving well and his consistency allowed him to keep Kuhl at bay over the next few holes. Cheers kept his sizeable advantage and with seven holes to play he was seven in front. In an effort to lengthen the contest in perfect conditions, Cheers hit two out of bounds in the next two holes. After keeping Blue in it long enough, he won the 15th to take the contest 4&3.
Cheers now has a D-Grade Championship to match his C-Grade one he won in 2013 and 2015, as he makes a habit of winning in the odd years.
The matches were concluded by the presentations, as Tash Gordon from Patrick of Coonawarra presented the winning players with some wine with over 50 players and spectators in attendance, capping off a great day for Penola Golf Club.
Penola to host the South East Men’s Two Ball Ambrose Tournament
Penola Golf Club will host the South East Two Ball Ambrose on Sunday October 22nd. With fields normally around the 100 mark, players are invited to register soon. The day includes breakfast, gourmet lunch and afternoon tea, gross and handicap prizes, nearest the pins on every hole for only $35. Tee off will be at 10:00am. Players holding a GA handicap are invited to enter via the Penola Golf Club website or through Paul Harmer or Leo Price.