Jim does it again

  • 26 November 2023
  • Peter Watson

They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but Jim McMullan does.

The jovial 26 handicapper provided one of feelgood moments of last year with an improbable victory in the MS Ford Shootout when he was drafted in to make up the top ten at the last minute.

On Saturday he proved it was no fluke by qualifying seventh and once again outlasting everyone else over nine holes of sudden death to claim the top prize and retain the trophy. And apart from a dodgy first hole, he used his 12-stroke handicap miserly off the white tees to avoid any chip offs and then delivered the most emphatic ending by birdieing the par five No 9 over the river where he got two shots to see off his last opponent.

Ten with the lowest net score averages over 13 rounds started the Shootout, with Peter Watson the first to bow out after losing his ball just off the fairway on No 1 which was found after the three-minute search limit had expired. Chris Louth was next to go, losing a chip off to Pete Green on No 2. Phil Sellers departed after making a mess of the long par-four No 3, while Michael Savage lost a three-man chip off with Dean Goodman and Andy Isle on No 4.

Dean's luck ran out on the next hole when he finished with a bogey. The trees on No 6 were Keri Kotua's downfall and they proved costly for Pete Green on No 7. Andy was gone on the next after more tree trouble but only after Jonathan Tuheke staged a remarkable escape after going in the creek but then draining a long putt to stay in the contest.

But he had no answer to straight-shooting Jim who nailed his drive and lay-up on No 9 before putting his approach across the river to 20 feet behind the pin and calmly draining the birdie putt to the resounding cheers of the gallery. It was a hole earlier in the day that he had made a nine on, but such are the vagaries of golf.

The Shootout was the last remaining competition to be settled from a winter season disrupted by the May flood and clean-up. We thank MS Ford for sponsoring the event which always provides a bit of sizzle to end the season.  


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