Date: April 02, 2018
Author: Tony Durkin

Jake wins in the dark

Nambour golfer Jake Crowther has won the Sunshine Coast Men’s Open Amateur Championship at Buderim’s Headland Golf Club in one of the most dramatic finishes in the 58 years of the annual tournament.

Crowther and David Schwartz (Nudgee Golf Club) tied after shooting the par score of 154 (both 71,73) over the two days of the Easter weekend, and then embarked on a two-hour, eight-hole play-off that finished in the dark.

“It was almost pitch black,” said Crowther as he recalled searching for his errant tee shot on the par three 18th hole, which he eventually bogeyed to clinch the title at his sixth attempt.

“I knew I had hit if left off the tee, but wasn’t sure where it finished. But thankfully there was a big crowd of onlookers and someone saw it finish in the garden.”

The marathon play-off consisted of holes one and two (played twice) and hole five, which were squared with pars, as well as hole nine which was halved with bogeys. But when the fading light intervened, the 18th hole – where the green is lit for promotional purposes – became the decider.

With lights on a golf buggy assisting on the tee as the darkness descended and a big crowd looking on, the hole was halved with pars the first time before Crowther made his miraculous bogey from the garden bed to eventually win the championship. Schwartz made double bogey.

The play-off finished at 6.30pm and Crowther doubts he will ever figure in a more dramatic or eventful play-off. In fact, had the 22-year-old university student not performed as well in the tournament, he may never have returned.

“I have played the past five Easter Tournaments at Headland and have scored very average indeed,” he said.

“I was thinking it wasn’t a course that suited me, but after the weekend success I have changed my mind.”

Crowther and Schwartz finished one shot ahead of two juniors, Royal Queensland’s Bailey Arnott and Tyler Duncan (Redcliffe). Adam Hawkins (142) of Palm Meadows was awarded the 36-hole nett event from Jordan Rooke (Wantima), while Headland’s Barry Newton was crowned Senior Champion and Bailey Arnott Junior Champion.

The tournament, which attracted a capacity field of 208, was sponsored by Walsh Consulting Engineers of Maroochydore.