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Club champs finals, October 17, 2020

We have a mix of old and new club champions for 2020 after Saturday's finals.

Thankfully the rain stayed away and conditions remained calm as our eight finalists battled their opponents and some nerves.

The first final was over quickly, even though they teed off 90 minutes after the others, with Barry Rhodes thumping Steve Turnell 7/6 in the Junior B division which is played over 18 rather than 36 holes.

Barry won the first hole, halved the next two and then took a stranglehold by taking five out of the next six holes by playing no-frills, down-the-middle bogey golf. Steve - who could not rediscover his sublime form of last week - won the 7th but it was only a brief respite. Five up at the turn, Barry won the 10th and 11th with bogies before the match ended in bizarre fashion as they halved the 12th with matching 9s.

Next to finish was the Junior A final where Lewis Wilson upset top seed Aaron Kotua 4/3 in a quality match marked by huge momentum shifts. Aaron made a fast start winning the first two holes, including a birdie at No 2 before Lewis bounced back to claim the 4th, 6th and 7th. However, Aaron had regained the lead by the 10th and had stretched it out to three up by the 12th. Once again, Lewis - driving it straight and long and chipping well - went on a tear, winning five holes on the trot by playing par and bogey golf to turn two up after 18. It was then Aaron's turn to up the ante, winning four of five holes to start the final nine two ahead. Remarkably, Lewis then turned the match on its head by claiming the next six holes - playing them in just three over par - to storm to victory. He was helped when Aaron lost a ball in the rough on the 30th and then hit out of bounds on the 33rd. In shooting a nett 67 and 68, Lewis was a worthy winner.

The Intermediate final between Paul Tunnicliff and Lindsay Brooks was much closer than the 5/4 win to Paul suggested with just two shots separating their gross scores. In the end, Paul was just a bit steadier and made slightly fewer errors to claim a remarkable fourth consecutive final - two Junior A titles and now two Intermediate ones. He started the better and had built a three-hole lead by the 9th which he had extended to five up on the 12th. Ever the battler, Lindsay won the 13th and 14th with pars to trim the deficit to three after the first 18. Another par at the 19th got him closer, but Paul birdied the 20th and won the 21st and 24th to restore his five-up cushion. Lindsay wasn't done and won the 25th and 26th with pars. He gave one back by double bogeying the 28th but took the 30th with a par five. Paul ended his stout resistance by winning the 31st up the hill and then the 32nd with a par three.

The Senior final between Dean Goodman and Keri Kotua - a repeat of last year - went the furthest before Dean claimed his first club championship in appropriate fashion with a birdie on the par four 34th hole after hitting a 9-iron to within three feet for a deserved 3/2 win. Neither man was at their best over the first 18 holes, with very little between them. After sharing the first five holes, Dean won the 6th but immediately lost the 7th and 8th to go to the turn 1-down. It was back to all square at the 10th. Keri looked to be getting on top when he won the 13th and 15th before Dean got one back at the 16th with a par. He then doubled the 17th to restore Keri's two-hole lead at the halfway mark. After swapping holes, Dean - who had finally found his groove - made what looked like a a decisive break as Keri's driver deserted him. He won four holes in a row only for Keri to win the 26th and 27th with pars to tie it up.  They shared the next four holes, playing them in one-over, as the tension rose, but Dean was not too be denied, winning the 32nd with a par three and the 33rd with a bogey before wrapping it up with a finishing birdie on the next hole to prevent Keri winning four senior titles in a row and redeem last year's loss to him.

In the match of the day, a par round off the whites tees, Ian Hanford edged Steve Russell for top honours after both posted a +4 score. Bryan Ramsey finished third on +3, while Warren Carey and Peter Watson were next on +1. Dave Blake, Steve Russell, Ian Hanford, Paul Tunnicliff and Aaron Kotua shared the twos money.

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