Date: April 03, 2017
Author: Dave Tease

The Australian Triumph in NSW Major Pennant

The Australian Golf Club have been crowned the 2017 Golf NSW Division One Metropolitan Major Pennant Champions after defeating St. Michael’s 4 1/2 matches to 2 1/2 in a titanic battle between the two clubs at Terrey Hills Golf and Country Club.

In a contest that saw State teammates going head-to-head and no less than four matches require extra holes, it was a stunning eagle on the 19th hole by Blake Windred in the failing light of dusk that ensured the Kensington club’s first Division One Pennant since 2007.

Andrew Hunter, Team Manager for The Australian, was ecstatic with the result.

“It was an amazing contest from everybody. It was exceptional quality golf. Some of the shots were mind-boggling.”

 “For both teams to stay in there, was a great effort.”

In a contest that was always going to be close, it was St. Michael’s Sam Costa who struck the first blow for the Maroubra side with a big 6&5 win over his opponent Zachary Mullins. Nicholas Crews evened the contest up for The Australian soon after, accounting for Mike Hammond 3&2 to square the ledger.

It was about then that events started to unfold. St. Michael’s Harrison Crowe was unable to get on top of The Australian’s Jame Brownlow, and when Brownlow grabbed the win on the 19th hole, The Australian had their noses in front.

Joshua Clarke became the giant killer for St. Michael’s, bringing down the hereto undefeated Justin Warren 2&1 in a result that raised the hopes of thie St. Michael's supporters at the course.

Isaac Noh, recently selected in the NSW Men’s team for the upcoming Australian Interstate Series managed to claw his way back into his match, and when it too headed to the 19th hole, the title was still anyone's for the taking.

“Our guys were all pretty confident going down the 19th. They have worked hard for this,” Hunter said.

Noh took advantage of his late chance, and when he won the 19th hole, The Australian were in the box seat.

Blake Windred and John Lyras in the match behind were slugging it out like prize fighters. Lyras, who was behind early, clawed his way back into the contest and found himself back to all square by the 18th. It looked over for the St. Michaels’ number two however when he spun his approach shot off the green and into a collection hollow, a clutch up and down from the 20-year old meant a third match was headed to the 19th.

Lyras' chances of escaping with the win disappeared unfortunately when he attempted a risky second shot to the par-five and ended up it in the water hazard short of the green.

Windred, sensing the occasion, rifled a long iron to the centre of the green, and left himself an 8-metre putt for eagle. When Lyras pitched his fourth about 3 metres past the flag, all that was left for Windred to do was convert the eagle putt and claim the Pennant title.

“Blake’s eagle on the last was extraordinary,” Hunter beamed.

“This team has worked hard for the last couple of years after losing to St. Michael’s in 2015, so we're very happy.”

“It was always going to be very close. They are two excellent teams,” Hunter said.

The win was particular significant to Hunter. He has managed Pennant teams for five years now, and he has seen this squad develop from juniors into Major Pennant Champions.

“I managed to win an Apperly (shield) with these guys. Now we’ve won a Major. I enjoy their company and the effort they put it,” he said.

Hunter believes that many of them have a very bright future in the game.

“I think a lot are contemplating turning pro. Events like this help them learn to fight to the end"

“They fought today, and it’s a real credit to them,” he beamed.

As for a Championship celebration, Hunter was sure the team had something in mind.

“I’m sure there’s room for celebration; I’m sure there's something lined up.” he grinned.