Commonwealth has won Men’s Division 1 while Huntingdale has taken out Women’s Division 1 following the 2015 Pennant finals played at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Sunday 17 May.
On a perfect Melbourne Autumn day with bright sunshine, clear blue skies and little wind, Commonwealth won its second consecutive title by defeating Victoria five and a half matches to one and a half.
In the finale to the 116th Golf Victoria Pennant season, Commonwealth gained the early ascendency with wins to No. 6 Matt Hinkley and No. 5 Cameron John over respective Victoria opponents Jack Sandic and Luke Mills.
A 19th hole playoff win to Victoria No. 4 Konrad Ciupek against Commonwealth’s Craig Hasthorpe briefly halted the progress of the defending Division 1 Champions, before the final was sealed with victories to Captain Tom Couling, four and three over Victoria No. 3 Leonard Chin, and a two and one victory to Commonwealth No. 2 Frazer Droop against fellow State team player, Ben Eccles.
In the battle between two of Australia’s leading amateurs, Commonwealth spearhead Lucas Herbert upset the previously unbeaten teenage star Ryan Ruffels four and three to cap off an emphatic victory.
The No. 7 match between Commonwealth’s Gary Sluce and Luke Murnane was squared after the match went down the 19th but was not required to be completed as Commonwealth secured the club’s 13th Division 1 title over the duration of the competition.
History was also being made in the Women’s Division 1 final where Huntingdale surprised previously unbeaten Victoria to win its first Division 1 Pennant since 2006 and the club’s 13th Division 1 Women’s title since the competition was first formally played in 1910.
In an exciting conclusion to the 2015 Women’s Pennant season, the deciding match came down to an enthralling battle between Victoria’s Sue Wooster and Huntingdale No. 3 Lisa Teo.
Earlier victories to Tracey Carter, Kallista Do and Captain Emily Smith from Huntingdale had been partly matched with Victoria wins to Anna Gavardinas and No. 1 Olivia Kline. With Victoria No. 2 Kono Matsumoto holding a one-hole advantage coming down the 18th against Huntingdale’s Helen Gubbels, the final would most likely hinge on the Wooster v. Teo encounter.
Early in the match Teo trailed by as many as six holes before staging an amazing fightback to level proceedings at the 17th. After both players halved the 18th, they headed for the 19th and ultimately deciding hole.
It was here that 22-year-old Teo played a stunning approach to within a metre of the hole with the resulting birdie capping off a remarkable comeback and final determining victory.
A total of 28 out of the 48 competing clubs were represented in the 2015 GV Pennant across six Men’s divisions, five Women’s divisions and six Colts divisions. As part of Golf Victoria’s ongoing policy of simultaneously staging Men’s, Women’s and Colts finals, contests were played at four host venues in Royal Melbourne, Southern, Patterson River and Kooringal Golf Clubs.
The 2015 finals again saw clubs with multiple teams in finals scheduled at the same venue to allow club members to support all competitors. Of the five clubs who had the chance of taking out multiple flags, Commonwealth, Eastern and Latrobe were ultimately successful with dual victories.
The 2015 Men’s Pennant Finals saw the remaining Divisions won by Royal Melbourne (Division 2); Gisborne (Div 3); Goonawarra (Div 4); Chirnside Park (Div 5) and Eastern (Div 6). Winners of Women’s Pennant Finals were Kingston Heath (Division 2); Riversdale (Division 3); Latrobe (Division 4) and The Heritage (Division 5).
Commonwealth took out the Division 1 Colts Final for the fourth year in succession by defeating Waverley three matches to two. The remaining Colts finals were won by Metropolitan (Division 2); Heidelberg (Division 3); Latrobe (Division 4); Eastern (Division 5) and Cheltenham (Division 6).
Every winning team will have stories to tell in the coming weeks as the victors celebrate the conclusion of Australia’s oldest and arguably best club team competition involving close to 800 players over the eight week season.