It needed extra holes, but at the end, Avondale’s number one Chris Fan proved to be the man of the moment as the Northern Suburbs club clinched their first Eric Apperly Shield in 55 years.
Fan proved pivotal in the end, holing a clutch 15 footer for birdie on the first playoff hole against his opponent St Michael’s Harison Crowe, then by binning a nervous six-footer for par and the win on the second playoff hole.
It was the second playoff in two years to decide the Eric Apperly Champions after the two finalists finished level on three matches apiece at the end of regulation play.
Earlier, St Michaels looked to have the advantage with wins to Jeffrey Pullen 5/3, Daley Loumains 3/2 and Kelsey Bennett, 2up, vaulting to a three-match lead.
Avondale, however, wasn’t done with and victories to William Bayliss (4/3) and Grace Kim (1 up) over her state squad teammate Jordie Garner, set the scene for a grandstand finish.
Enter Chris Fan and Harrison Crowe. With the match in the balance, Fan held his nerve up the last, making a clutch up-and-down for a one-up win, forcing the Shield into a playoff.
The ensuing playoff was a thriller, and man of the moment Fan was a little lost for words after the win.
“Harrison is a great player; he’s one of the best players I know,” Fan Grinned.
All the talk, however, was about THAT put. After Crowe had all but holed his approach Fan, was left with a tricky downhiller to keep the match alive. Ever the professional, Fan said it felt like a putt he was destined to make.
“It was unreal. It was one of those putts. I stood behind it and said to myself I know this line.
“I could see it going in. Low and behold it goes in!”
As it went in, so did the momentum.
Fan wrapped it up for the win soon after with a knee wobbler on the second playoff hole.
“I gave it too much frist time; a bit of a knee wobbler coming back, but I stayed calm. I was very happy to hole it and take the win for the team.”
The Eric Apperly Shield is Avondale’s first win in the 70-year-old competition and 55 years since their first. This years competition was also historic for the inclusion of women in the teams.
RESULTS (AVONDALE FIRST)
1: Chris Fan def Harrison Crowe – 1up
2: Grace Kim def Jordie Garner – 1up
3: William Bayliss def Weiliang Wang 4/3
4: June Song lost to Kelsey Bennett 2 Up
5: Callum Sharp lost to Daley Loumanis 3/2
6: William Moody lost to Jeffrey Pullen 5/3.
Chris Fan defeated Harrison Crowe on the second hole.