Perennial finalists Russley and Christchurch again locked horns yesterday at Waimairi Beach Golf Club to find the Woodward Cup Champion for 2017, and this time it was Russley who came through after a hard fought battle through the back nine.
The 7-1 scoreline to Russley was somewhat flattering as four of the eight matches went down to the last two holes. However Russley did have a good 5.5-2.5 lead after nine holes and were able to extend that down the stretch with Reid Hilton, Ben Baker, Cam Beel, and Owen Burgess in particular coming through in the later stages.
The feature match was the battle of the young gun No. 1's Dom Brettkelly and Tom Parker. Tom's lip out for birdie on the first hole proved to be an omen for the match as his putter ran cold for most of the match. In contrast Dom putted well and played solid from tee to green. He held a 3up lead after nine holes which he never relinquished and ran out the victor 4/3, being five under the card when they finished on the 15th hole. Reid Hilton and Mike Toeke had a good battle which was nip and tuck all the way. They were square after nine with Reid only getting the ascendency on the 18th. Young Ben Baker did very well to hold out the experience of Richard Reed and made some crucial putts and saves in the last few holes as Richard threw everything at him. Ben was partnered with the big hitting Cam Beel and he too had his work cut out to hold off the wily veteran Jason Sincock.
Owen Burgess staged the come-back of the Final turning around a 2 down deficit after nine holes to JJ Love, and win on the 18th 2up. The pressure seemed to tell on JJ as he missed a short putt on 16, and hooked both his tee shots on 17 and 18 to succumb to Burgess. Jordan Bakermans playing No. 6 always had the measure of Hamish Kerr being 3up after nine and winning 4/3, getting the only win for Christchurch. Strength at the bottom of the order was crucial for Russley as both Joe Falkner and Garth Treacy run out comfortable winners over John Wilson and Peter MacDougall respectively.
In the semi-finals both Templeton and Harewood gave it a good shot to overcome their favoured opponents but came up just short with both semis being 4.5-3.5 to Russley and Christchurch. For Templeton James Robb, Dan Laughton, and Paul Brightwell had good wins with Tom Wilson getting a half against Reid Hilton. However Russley were dominant in the other matches. Harewood also put up a good challenge with three wins at the bottom of the order to Troy Clark, Blair Dibley and Antony Dale, and a half to Scott Manyweathers. However the wins to Christchurch in the other matches were by significant margins.
A huge thanks must go to Waimairi Beach Golf Club for hosting Finals Day. The course was in superb condition, and the catering and pro shop staff coped admirably with being run off their feet all day. Thanks also to the Canterbury Golf Referees Association, and the Canterbury Golf volunteers and convenors for giving up their time.
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