A Shootout of surprises
- 7 December 2022
- Peter Watson
In one of the best feel-good moments of the season, rank outsider Jim McMullan has won a Shootout full of surprises.
Photo: Jim McMullan (left) and Aaron Kotua (right)
Played on Saturday after the closing day ambrose, it pitted the top ten qualifiers against each other over nine sudden death holes on handicap off the white tees.
Jim – who only got into the final after a late withdrawal – wasn’t favoured after recording the highest net average of those entering the event.
But while all those about him made errors at crucial times, the 26-handicapper kept his head and the ball in play to claim a deserved win.
In a shootout with almost more twists and turns than the Takaka Hill, Mick Leggett was the first to depart, losing in a two-man chip-off on No 1, as the curse of the top seed struck once again.
Peter Watson – who was going for three titles in a row – surprised everyone by duffing a sand wedge to lose a three-man chip-off on No 2.
Steve Russell left his chip-off effort short on No 3 against Paul Tunnicliff to bow out, but Paul was gone on the next hole after going long in a mass chip-off from the back of the green.
Warwick King went out of bounds on No 5 but it was Keri Kotua who got the chop after making a hash of the hole. However, Warwick’s reprieve was short-lived after he shanked a chip at No 6.
Geoff Halkett didn’t survive No 7 after driving into the trees, while Peter Green three-putted No 8 to end his hopes.
That left Aaron Kotua and Jim to fight for the major prize. While Jim hit his best drive of the day down No 9, Aaron put his in the trees, couldn't get out first time and then forced to play out onto No 6 fairway. Meanwhile, Jim – who got two shots on the hole - bunted his way onto the green in four. Aaron’s hopes ended when his approach went long and he muffed his chip to gift Jim a memorable victory.
Thanks to Dean Goodman for refereeing the event.