All roads led to Cranbourne as the 2018 GV Pennant finals concluded on Sunday 20 May with the Division 1 Men’s, Division 1 Women’s and Division 2 Women’s titles being decided. Metropolitan, Commonwealth and Royal Melbourne the respective champions.
On an overcast, cold and breezy Melbourne autumn day, Commonwealth went back-to-back in taking out the Division 1 Women’s title, Metropolitan won the Men’s Division 1 flag while Royal Melbourne confirmed a stellar season by taking out the Division 2 Women’s crown.
In the finale to the 119th Golf Victoria Pennant season, the Division 1 Women’s final provided the maximum drama. With matches level at three apiece, it was Commonwealth No.2 and team captain Jo Flaherty that was the hero for the victors in winning the decider at the 20th hole.
Leading by two holes with just two to play, Flaherty had to withstand a spirited fightback from Huntingdale opponent Jeaneth Wong. The teenager rallied with two solid pars over the difficult Cranbourne closing holes to level the match and force it into extra holes.
After both players had birdie fours at the par-five 1st, Flaherty had a stroke of good fortune at the 335-metre 2nd after her tee shot caught the left trees but remained clear and in sight of the green. She duly played a great approach to within eight metres from the hole.
Finding the middle of the fairway from the tee, Wong’s approach hit the right side of the green but left herself with an awkward fifteen-metre downhill putt. After Wong left her first putt two-metres short, Flaherty superbly lagged her birdie attempt to inside a metre. Wong’s missed par attempt then saw Flaherty convert to win the final and the club’s fourth Division 1 Women’s flag since 2010.
In the 2018 Division 1 Men’s final, Metropolitan also won a close encounter in defeating Kingston Heath by four matches to three to win the club’s second Division 1 flag in three years. The win was essentially set-up by tremendous performances from the team’s lower order with Zach O’Collins, Chris John, Aiden Didone and Victorian State Men’s team member Blake Collyer all winning.
Kingston Heath won the battle of the top order with DJ Loypur defeating Metropolitan No. 1 and current Victorian Men’s Amateur Champion, David Micheluzzi, Simon Treeby defeating Metro No. 2 Nick Brown and Andre Lautee winning over Victorian State representative, Lukas Michel.
Completing a great final day of 2018 Pennant golf, Royal Melbourne defeated Yarra Yarra by five matches to two in the Division 2 Women’s final. Spearheaded by 2016 Victorian Women’s Amateur Champion Alizza Hetherington, Royal Melbourne’s win was set-up through final hole victories to Sue Ellery, Ally Kerr and Heather Brodie. Hetherington and No. 3 Caroline Edwards sealed the result with respective four-and-three wins over Yarra Yarra’s Isabelle Simpson and Corinna Bryant.
The 2018 finals again saw a number of clubs with multiple teams having the chance of taking out Pennant flags with just Commonwealth and Huntingdale ultimately successful.
The 2018 Division 1 Men’s and Women’s Finals and the Division 2 Women’s Final were played later than all other GV Pennant Finals to ensure Victorian State Team representatives were available to participate for their respective clubs. The Victorian Men’s team was successful in winning the 2018 Australian Men’s Interstate Teams Matches played in Adelaide from May 8 – 11 while the Victorian Women’s team finished fourth.
The remaining 2018 Men’s Pennant Finals saw the Divisions won by Huntingdale (Division 2); Eynesbury (Division 3); Sandhurst (Division 4); Medway (Division 5) and Eastern (Division 6) while the other 2018 Women’s Pennant Finals saw the Divisions won by Keysborough (Division 3) and Rossdale (Division 4).
The Colts finals were won by Commonwealth (Division 1); The National (Division 2); Cranbourne (Division 3); Box Hill (Division 4) and Bacchus Marsh (Division 5).
The Friday Women’s Pennant finals were won by Huntingdale (Division 1); Kingston Heath (Division 2); Woodlands (Division 3) and Spring Valley (Division 4).
Next year’s 2019 GV Pennant season will commence slightly earlier on the weekend of February 24 in order to conclude the competition by the end of April. This will avoid any date clashes with the Australian Interstate Teams Matches and the Mother’s Day weekend as well as hopefully concluding the season before deteriorating weather and diminishing daylight truly sets in.