Date: January 23, 2014
Author: Jack Newton Junior Golf

2013 Encourage Shield State Final

It was Toronto vs Concord and The Links Shell Cove vs Murwillumbah in the semi finals of the 2013 NSW State Encourage Shield on Monday 20th January 2014 at the challenging Newcastle Golf Club. The weather was perfect, if just a little hot, but with a 10-15 kph wind from the north east, conditions for play were very good.

The course was in very good condition with medium paced greens and fast fairways. The fairways were relatively wide but the surrounding bushes were almost unplayable if the ball was found, and the mozzies were so brutal in size and numbers, that a can of Bushmans was the only effective remedy.

Teeing off at 11am, both matches were even for the first five or six holes before The Links Shell Cove gradually got the upper hand and led narrowly in five matches at the turn. Meanwhile Concord held a similar margin in the other game. By the end of day one, Concord had won 4 ½ to 1 ½ over Toronto and Murwillumbah had made a spirited come back only to lose narrowly to The Links Shell Cove 3 ½ to 2 ½.

The next morning, after an enjoyable evening at the Motto Farm Motel, the four teams re-assembled for their 11am tee time. Murwillumbah vs Toronto for the 3rd/4th playoff and Concord vs The Links Shell Cove in the final. The morning had been overcast and drizzly but by 11:00 there was no rain and the cooler conditions even had the mozzies at bay for a while.

The Toronto team was much younger and smaller than the juniors from Murwillumbah, but kept the ball “up the middle” most of the time and their short games were very strong. The longer hitting Murwillumbah team found themselves behind in four out of six matches at the turn but led strongly in the other two. In the end, “straight” triumphed over “long” and the Toronto team won 4 matches to 2.

In the big one, it was neck and neck for the first nine holes with both teams leading in two matches and the other two were square. Dead level at the turn. The back nine is a little less daunting from 10 through 13 and the matches stayed relatively the same until the 14th where the course gets a little tighter and course management even more critical. The power game of the Shell Cove boys had kept them in the game so far, and the shorter hitting, accurate Concord players, continued “up the middle”, kept their chances alive.

With four holes to go, Concord had won two matches and were looking very good when two holes later, they got their third winning match in. Shell Cove still had a chance to make it 3-3 when the number one match went their way, and the 3’s were 1 up and the 4’s were square with one hole to play.

Teeing off 18, with a 15 kph wind blowing into and across from the left, it was not easy to find the fairway without aiming way left. The tee shots from both Shell Cove players found the right sandy rough while the Concord boys kept it on the “short stuff”. This swung the pendulum slightly towards Concord.

Connor from Shell Cove had hit his second out of the rough on to the fairway and then played a great shot to give him a par putt which was enough to win 2 up. This left it up to the 4’s with Chase from Shell Cove making a good fourth shot to have a 5m putt for bogey, while Liam from Concord was short of the green for two. Liam chipped up to about 2m. Chase then sunk his long putt under enormous pressure to make it interesting.

Liam had two putts to win the hole and the match, and secure the State Encourage Shield for his team. A three putt would see a sudden death playoff. Liam calmly, on the outside anyway, lagged his putt close to the hole and tapped in for the victory. The crowd went nuts and Concord had won the event 4 matches to 2.

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Concord GC – Jack White, Andy Li, Sophie Yip, Matt Kotsakis, Liam O’Halloran, Jimmy Katsikas, Georgia Page. Manager – Greg Slade, Liz White

The Links Shell Cove – David Woodall, Jamie Krzyszczak, Connor Bond, Chase Boreland, Darcy Bond, Brandon Charman. Manager – Anthony Charman

Toronto GC – Jye Forrester, Reece Green, Jake Dundas, Damon Green, Oscar Gilson, Ryan Dundas, Jake Rielly. Manager – Mick Forrester

Murwillumbah GC – Riley King, Ethan Mitchell, Linden Sharp, Ashlee Selwood, Tom Partridge, Cameron Larkin. Manager – Andy Mitchell

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