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Club champs semi-finals October 10, 2020

There were spots in the club champs finals on the line, an annual shield to battle over with Blenheim Golf Club and Eagles Society members to welcome on what was a busy Saturday (Oct 10) at Waahi Taakaro.

There were some interesting matchups in the semi-finals played under a threatening sky on greens that had just been sliced, but there was one performance that really stood out.

Steve Turnell went into his Junior B encounter against his good mate and number one seed Warren Carey as the underdog, but played the best round of his club career to blitz him 5/4. The 32-handicapper's incredible nett 60 included birdies  at No 6 and No 17. Driving it straight and long and regularly hitting greens in regulation, Steve was 5-up at the turn against an opponent who didn't play badly before ending the match early with his second birdie. 

The other Junior B semi-final couldn't have been more different with Barry Rhodes and Callum Hogg - 40 years his junior - never separated by more than a hole. All square after nine, Callum had the chance to win it on the 18th but his putt lipped out. Barry - who ended up shooting a nett 69 - won it with a deft chip and solid putt on the 19th.

Aaron Kotua justified his top seeding in the Junior A division with a comfortable 4/2 win over Ian Hanford, who struggled on the bumpy and slow greens. Two up at the halfway mark after starting on No 4, Aaron birdied No 14 before closing it out on the difficult No 18.

There was a surprise in the other semi-final with an inspired Lewis Wilson dumping out second seed Paul McCrae 2/1. Lewis shot out to a 5-up lead after nine on the back of some accurate driving and putting before Paul won three in four holes to peg it back. They traded holes before Lewis - who recorded a nett 69 - sealed it with another win on their 17th.

The intermediate semi-finals were more clear cut and followed form. Paul Tunnicliff - fresh from knocking out top seed Richard Pearson the previous week - was three up early against Dave Blake who had trouble on the greens. When Dave did win a hole, Paul - who played the more steady golf - would promptly win it back and he clinched it by taking the 15th for a 4/3 win.

Lindsay Brooks lost the opening hole to Jonathan Tuheke but was all square by the third and from then on was never behind, although they were all tied up after 11 holes. The decisive break came when Lindsay won the 12th and 13th with bogies and the 15th with a par before claiming a 4/2 victory at the 16th.

In the seniors, two past champions Keri Kotua and Andy Isle had a ding dong battle that went down to the wire as both played to their handicaps. Andy was two up after four, but Keri won the 5th with a par and the 9th with a birdie to level it up going into the back nine. While Andy was more accurate off the tee, Keri's scrambling and excellent long range putting  saw him stay in touch and pull briefly ahead at the 12th before Andy won the 14th with a par. Keri edged ahead by winning the 15th with a par and then made a great up and down at the 17th to keep his lead going up the tricky 18th. Keri kept his nerve to halve the hole with a par for a 1-up win.

In the other semi-final, top seed Dean Goodman shot the best gross score of the day - 77 - to outgun Peter Green 6/4. Playing par golf, Dean was four up after five holes, before Peter fought back to win the 6th and 7th with pars. They then traded holes before Dean ran away with the match by winning four of the first five holes on the back nine, including a birdie at No 11, in a clinical display of golf and one of his best rounds off the blue tees.

In the match of the day - a stableford round off the white tees - Warwick King took top honours with 38 points, which included a two. Stephen Russell finished second on 37 points, with Eagles member Trevor Timpson of Golden Downs claiming third on 35 points. Fourth was Bryan Ramsey on 34 points.

Waahi Taakaro reclaimed the Leatai Shield from our Blenheim visitors in our annual challenge with a clear cut 33.143 to 28.333 stableford point average win.

We thank the Blenheim contingent for making the trip over the hill and the Eagles for their annual visit.

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