The Bendigo District Golf Association won a thrilling final to become the first country team to claim Golf Victoria’s Junior Pennant competition at the weekend.
Tahlia Holmberg and Alex Gorrie displayed nerves of steel to make par on the par-three extra hole, while their Kingswood opponents could only card bogeys as Bendigo celebrated a 4-2 win at Latrobe Golf Club.
The victory capped a great series for Bendigo, which won seven of its eight ties – and drew the other – to take out the prestigious competition.
“I’d have to look up the records, but it has been going under different names…over about 40 years,” BDGA junior co-ordinator Mark Bamford said yesterday.
“We go into each year, I suppose, with the thought of development.
“It’s really about playing matchplay, putting the pressure on them and playing on courses we never generally play at home.
“We did play one match at home this year which was very unusual, it’s usually on the home course of our opponent. It exposes the youngsters to different conditions.
“That’s what it’s about, if we have a win it’s a bonus – obviously as you keep winning you think a little differently.”
Bendigo finished top of its section after five rounds and defeated Rosanna in a quarter-final last weekend, before toppling Rossdale 5-1 in a semi-final at Heidelberg Golf Club on Friday.
In the final, Bendigo shot to a fast start with all of its six players in front or square after four holes.
Inglewood’s Zayne Rowe began to struggle through the middle holes, though, and was three-down after eight, eventually conceding 4-3 on the 16th.
Neangar Park’s Kurtis Lynch had a crucial breakthrough on the par-five 16th, however, which he won to take a two-up lead before winning 2-1.
Captain Bill Caulfield (Belvoir Park) lost his final two holes to finish two-down and Bendigo trailed 2-1 with three results remaining.
Neangar Park’s Kristi Bilkey held off a challenge to win 2-1 on the 17th to level the overall score, before clubmate Holmberg and Eaglehawk’s Gorrie headed up the 18th.
Holmberg led by one, but found trouble off the tee and lost the hole, while Gorrie three-putted for par to remain at all-square.
With all to play for on the par-three extra hole, Holmberg missed the green, but chipped brilliantly to scramble for par, while Gorrie’s two-putt after a solid tee shot was enough to also clinch the hole and the contest.
Bamford said the fighting qualities of the 10-player squad – which also included Riley Hocking, Max Nachmann, Nick Tierney and Mitch Whittle – paid dividends throughout the series.
“It’s how you gel, how people get along with each other and how much fire you’ve got in the belly sometimes to get over the line – and we’ve got a lot of those I can tell you,” he said.