Jake Davies has taken out the 2017 Country Championship a by two shots after a thrilling final round at Goulburn Golf club.
Davies, one of 10 players within a shot of the lead at the beginning of the day, posted one of the rounds of the tournament, a three under par 67 for a two round total of 137 to win by two shots from Nowra’s Mark Panopoulos. The Links Shell Cove Colin Mitchell, Jordan Garner of Shelly Beach and Mark Hale from Mudgee finished in a tie for third a further shot back.
The tournament was anyone’s to win for much of the day. Panopoulos and Hale, playing in the leading two groups, had their opportunities. Hale got it to four under at one stage on the front nine before dropping a brace of shots coming home, including a four putt double bogey on the par four 14th. Three more bogeys in his last four holes finished his chances.
Panopolous also got off to a flyer, turning in 33 to be at the top of the leaderboard after nine holes. The back nine, however, proved his undoing, and when the Killara Golf Club representative double bogeyed the 17th, his chances evaporated. A birdie on the 18th was still not enough for Panopoulos to snatch the trophy.
The Links Shell Cove’s Colin Mitchell started the day three shots in arrears, was in red hot form and had it to five under par with just two holes to go. A bogey on the 18th, followed by a disastrous double bogey win the first (his last hole) meant his day ended in heartbreak.
It was Davies day though. Starting the final round on the tenth, he went about his business solidly, chipping in on the 11th before turning in two under par 33. He grabbed two more birdies on the first and third holes to get out to four under par with just six holes to play. An untidy bogey on the 8th hole didn’t stop him, and after a nervous – but regulation – par on the ninth, his last hole of the day, the Championship was his.
“ I just wanted to hit greens in regulation today. Pars were gold out there,” he said.
“I knew the putts would come. I’m happy I limited it to a couple of bogeys, I just played smart,”
“I didn’t chase too many birdies. I let them come; I’m delighted with how I played today.”
The Gungahlin Lakes Member, who has only been playing golf for four years, was thrilled with his win and with it the guaranteed start in the 2017 NSW Open at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club in November.
“It is a real thrill winning,” Davis smiled. “I was aware there was a spot in the NSW Open up for grabs, so I’m pretty pleased.”
The golf bug bit relatively late for Davies, preferring the baseball diamond for much of his youth. Initially, he didn’t like the game.
“I played baseball for years. Dad played golf, he encouraged me to try it, but I hated it when I was younger.”
“ I had a few lessons when I was 15, I got my handicap, and the golf bug stuck,” he smiled.
As for the coveted start this November, Davies can’t wait.
“It has been a huge goal of mine for the last year or two to play in it, so now I’ve qualified, I’m overwhelmed.”