BENDIGO is through to a semi-final of the Golf Victoria junior pennant competition after Sunday’s thrilling victory in the sudden death quarter-final.
Captain Bill Caulfield held his nerve to make par on the second play-off hole to clinch victory for the Bendigo Junior Development Squad against Rosanna Golf Club.
The match-play contest began in tricky conditions, with strong winds making it difficult to control the ball at Sunshine Golf Club in Mount Derrimut.
Bendigo took a strong early position, leading four of the six matches after the opening five holes, with Neangar Park’s Kurtis Lynch firing three birdies to take a two-up lead on his opponent.
But as the players scaled Mount Derrimut the wind became a bigger factor and Rosanna’s players handled the conditions better to level the match three-all after nine holes.
Neangar’s Kristi Bilkey and Tahlia Holmberg led by three at the turn, but both dropped points on holes 10 through 15 and scores were levelled.
But when Inglewood’s Zayne Rowe edged his way in front after the 14th and with Belvoir Park’s Caulfield and Lynch in front, victory seemed a formality.
In a sudden twist, though, Rowe found himself trailing by one heading up the 18th, while Bilkey lost on the last hole.
With the overall match tied at two-all, Holmberg seemed headed for a tied result on the last before her opponent missed a two-footer to hand the Bendigo golfer victory.
With Bendigo ahead 3-2, Rowe had the chance to seal the result by tying his individual contest, only to miss a short putt and the match went to sudden death.
Team manager Mark Bamford was “overjoyed” with the result, particularly the learning experiences for the young golfers under pressure.
The Travelcentre Bath Lane Bendigo-backed squad plays its semi-final against Rossdale Golf Club on Friday at the Heidelberg course.
Bendigo has the opportunity to become the first country team to win the Golf Victoria Junior Pennant Competition.
If Bendigo wins its semi-final, the final will be played on Sunday at Latrobe Golf Club.
Earlier in the tournament, Bendigo defeated a talented Goulburn Valley team to progress to the quarter-finals and claim the sectional pennant title.
It was Bendigo’s second sectional pennant since 2010.
Bendigo was ranked second of the seven sectional winners after some dominant performances in the rounds.
The team for the semi-final is Bill Caulfield (captain), Kurtis Lynch, Tahlia Holmberg, Zayne Rowe, Kristi Bilkey and Riley Hocking. Mitch Whittle (emergency).
Scores from the Bendigo and Rosanna quarter-final:
Bill Caulfied (6) d Mitch Hall (2) 2-1.
Kurtis Lynch (7) d Kane Ramsay (15) 3-1.
Tahlia Holmberg (8) d Nick Cooney (16) 1 up.
Kristi Bilkey (10) lt Jaynaya Wharton (18) 1 down.
Alex Gorrie (12) lt Max Charles (22) 3-2.
Zayne Rowe (16) lt Dion Sanusi (23) 1 down.