New South Wales and Avondale will go head-to-head in the final of Division One Metropolitan Major Pennant after contrasting semifinal wins at Twin Creeks Golf and Country Club on Sunday.
In what turned out to be a bit of a one-sided contest, last year’s finalists Bonnie Doon had no answer for a dominant Avondale. The 6 to 1 result began on the back of 2 &1 wins to Linas Yip and Henry Hesketh, while Anthony Robson, also won easily, 5&3.
Jye Pickin, fresh from his selection in the NSW Men’s team for the upcoming interstate series, made short work of Luke Taylor, 5 & 4, while Christopher Fan was in a marauding mood, accounting for Sebastian Twaddell7&6.
New South Wales hopes of defending their 2018 remain alive, but their match went down to the wire in a cliffhanger against a youthful concord outfit in the other semi.
Earlier in the afternoon, NSW looked like they were cruising to an easy win with big wins coming from Dean Van Kampen (7 & 6) and Zinyo Garcia (5 & 3) over NSW Junior representative Lachie Jones and Corey Lamb.
Blake Phillips and Mathew Thomas kept Concord in the match, however, with 2 & 1 results, and when Jackson Hall, who was down early, managed to grab a win on the last with a near miracle up and down, the scene was set for a thrilling finish.
Andy Li made it three a piece with his win on the last, and just like that, it was down to the number ones, Zac Mullins and Josh Gadd.
Locked at all-square, both had their chances on the last. However, Mullins outside chance slid by, before Gadd, agonisingly, saw his putt just take a bit of the edge and stay out for what would have been a remarkable victory.
It was sudden death for the pair, and with a sizeable gallery of teammates and supporters in tow, the pair traded pars on the first two extra holes.
With the weather closing in, it was Mullins who took the initiative on the third, drilling his drive on the reachable par four to about 18 feet. Gadd responded, but his drive missed left, and there was little he could do with the tricky up-and-down. Gadd, still away, missed his birdie putt, and all that was left was for Mullins to two-putt and with it, book a place in the final for the defending champions.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in some good sides, and make a few finals, but today was as tough as I have ever done it and to get over the line was really satisfying,” a very relieved Mullins said after the round.
Mullins paid credit to his opponent, Gadd, saying the result could have been reversed.
” I said to him afterwards actually it could have gone either way. We both struck some good shots coming down the stretch, and he should be proud of himself. He did really well.
Mullins is under no illusion next week’s final will be a tough assignment, and said the key is having teammates you want to play for.
“Coming down the stretch you want to play for your mates, have a dig and not lose for them. The solidarity in this side is the key. I think we have that this year.”
A for his prediction for next week, Mullins said win, lose or draw he was pragmatic.
“Hopefully we play solid. Just do their best is all we ask, win, lose or draw. It’s really satisfying just to get to the final.
“We will give it our best shot. We win; we win. We lose; we lose.”
Monash and Liverpool will meet after both sides claimed 4/ 3 victories at Macquarie Links.
Wins from Australian Amateur Runner-up Nathan Barbieri who defeated Tim Wand 5 & 3, Jordan Mackay 7&5 Sunil Atel, 5&3 and Alex Henderson, two up for Monash brought an end to another outstanding year by Massey Park.
Liverpool had a far tougher task against The Lakes, and it was the result of Darren Shepherd on the 19th hole that got the Lansvale crew over the line. Other winners were Guy Nardo, Riley Carter and Blake Davies.
Manly accounted for Dunheved 5 to 2 and Lakeside defeated Eastlake 4 to 3 at Twin Creeks to set up next weeks’ Division Three final.
Big wins for Manly’s Finlay Bellingham James Cockerill and Julian Jackson set the scene for the North Shore club before Luke Gough made the other matches academic with his two-up win.
Robbie Minns had the win of the day for Lakeside with a 7 & 6 result. However, it was a lot closer in the other matches. Matthew Brinkworth scored with a two-up result, while Ben Warby and William Wright grabbed vital one up wins.
Springwood, Metropolitan Major Pennant’s newest team, made short work of Randwick 5 1/2 to 1 1/2 in Division Four, and will now meet Richmond, who defeated Marrickville 4 1/2 to 2 1/2, in next weeks final.
In Division Five, neighbours Cammerary and Chatswood will meet in the final, after recording 4 1/2 to 2 1`/2 wins over Riverside Oaks and Georges River at Springwood Country Club.