Story by Pat Payton | St. Marys Independent Newspaper
A chip-off won the men’s side for Stew Grant and Andy Cunningham at the 2021 Battle of Gowanbrae this past weekend at St. Marys Golf and Country Club.
But during the two-day, 36-hole competition, the pair took turns making clutch shots and putts to get them to Saturday’s playoff round.
After a couple of playoff holes, three two-man groups (from different divisions) earned the right to play the final playoff hole (the par 4 No. 1) Saturday evening.
In the playoff, Cunningham parred the tough par 3 No. 2 hole to clinch a spot for his team in the final.
They returned to the No. 1 tee-blocks to face the duo of Taylor Booth and Doug Lower, and the pairing of Derek Van Der Linden and Jim Galbraith in a one-hole final playoff.
All three teams earned pars or net pars on the par 4 hole. Grant hit a great fairway bunker shot to about 10 feet below the hole, and two-putted for his par.
It forced a chip-off on the same hole from approximately 34 yards from the green. The shot was from the rough, and over a bunker on the left side of the green to a front-pin location. “It was a really tough chip, and three of the six balls went in the front bunker,” Grant reported. “I ended up hitting it the closest, about five feet from the pin.”
It gave Grant and Cunningham the overall men’s title.
During the final 18 regulation holes on Saturday, Grant praised his teammate Cunningham for executing some great shots.
“On Friday, I played particularly well, shooting 73, which for me is really good,” Grant said. “But on the second day, Andy came through on the last few holes when it really counted. He made a couple of really important putts so that we could emerge from our group. Andy made a 10-foot par save on No. 7, and then he made a 20-footer for birdie on No. 8 in our closing holes in our final match of the pool. He really stepped up when the pressure was on.
“If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't have won our pool. We were in a real battle with Kurtis Forster, who played exceptional, and Joe Wilhelm. Kurtis was apparently one-under-par for the 18 holes (Saturday). They were tough opponents," he noted.
On the women’s side, Sandy Fifield and Calana Hinnegan captured the 2021 title. They defeated the entry of Lucky Player and Barb Vossen in Saturday’s one-hole playoff on No. 1.
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