Thanks to our great sponsor and Parkes Golf Club past board member and volunteer Peter Boschman, we concluded the IGA Shootout on Sunday.
(min cost $8)
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The conditions turned out a bit benign to what they looked like being from Saturday and this setup for a battle of the best qualified and available 19 golfers to play matchplay for the 18 holes.
The format is very cutthroat with one player dropping out from the group at each hole until the best two on the day go head-to-head on the 18th.
At each hole the worst score of the group drops off but if there are ties then there is a chip-off, doubling the tension and ecstasy.
Official referee for the day, Paul Thomas, gave the players their last instructions and with plenty of advice and support from the group, the players hit off in four groups to contest the shootout.
On the first hole two of the clubs best in Riall Harrison and Blake Smith incurred double bogeys and Riall won this hole in a chip-off.
On the downwind par 5 with all the big hitters in play, a par was just pass mark and unfortunately Rod Kiley could only manage a double bogey and was condemned to a support role.
On the testing par 3 three players ended up with a double bogey and Mark Kelly put the covers on the bag and his day was completed.
On the very short par 4 hole once again a double bogey saw the end of Robert Cheney for the day.
As the group made their way back to the clubhouse via the fifth hole once again the double bogeys were the bane for Ron Hetherington and Peter Bristol with Ron bowing out for the day in the chip-off.
On the par 5 with the fence always a chance things became a bit tighter with bogey being the worst score and a three-way chip-off saw Denis Howard take up his role as cheerleader for the day.
On the eighth hole pars were in abundance but unfortunately Blake Parker found the dreaded bush on the right hand side and had to take a penalty drop, then he hit a great shot onto the green but managed to 3 putt to end his chances.
On the ninth hole with Gordon Christie in charge of the barbecue - well supported by Rod Kiley and Mark Kelly and the goodies from the IGA larder, and the smell drifting down to the golfers - pars and bogeys were to the fore and inexplicitly Ken Crobcroft had trouble with the short stick and became a passenger for the afternoon.
After being well fed, entertained by the banter and a bit of sledging and gamesmanship, the remaining players headed to the 10th tee.
As was to be expected on the day, due to the pressure and well considered advice, a few players found the fence and the worst outcome was for Phil Barnard who exited the competition.
On the short 11th it was all about hitting the target and with two birdies on the hole a bogey was danger and in a three-way chip-off Jack Elliott ended his campaign.
On the 12th the big hitters were able to unleash again and unfortunately Josh Cheney managed a double bogey and was gone for the day.
On the 13th hole with a bit of trailing breeze, a birdie was the pass mark with only Joe Van Opynen not having to participate in the chip-off.
Unfortunately Peter Magill who'd been under the radar all day lost out.
On the 14th hole bogey was the chip-off point and four players went into battle with Brendan Chambers, dreaming of that honeymoon at Byron, unfortunately bowing out.
On the par 3 15th into a bit of breeze, three players ended up with bogey and once again the dreaded chip-off claimed another victim with Peter Bristol starting the long walk home.
On the 16th par 5 Anthony Locke, who had chipped spectacularly all day, found issue with the putter and left it to the big three - Riall Harrison, Joe Van Opynen and John Green - to battle it out.
All looked set for Riall Harrison to move to the 18th as he hit a great drive to the 150 peg, hit the second onto the green, the only one of the three to do so, but somehow managed a 3 putt.
It all came down to salvaging an up and down which John Green managed and recorded his par.
Joe Van Opynen was green high to the right and managed to get on well enough but 2 putted.
This left a very important chip-off with Riall only just managing to get onto the green and give Joe the opportunity he needed to take on John going up the last hole.
Joe was first to hit and caught the gumtree halfway up the hill and it dropped straight down.
John realising the opportunity hit his best drive of the day to pin high just to the right fringe of the green, no an easy feat off the blue tees.
Once again the fighter that is in Joe drew down on all those pennants matches and matchplays in the big arena and he hit a low iron bouncing into the hill and onto the green to be a few metres directly behind the hole.
Those in attendance were in awe of Joe's scrambling ability.
Ever the cool customer, John lined-up the chip and rolled it to within a metre and hand the pressure back to Joe.
Joe had his putt running to the hole but at the last bit it rolled slightly away so that he could only record a par.
John took his time to line-up and hit the perfect winning shot and record a birdie which summed-up his round for the day.
Once again, the quiet achiever had managed to snare the prestigious IGA Shootout trophy.
This became John's fifth victory in the shootout and he thanked Peter Boschman and the IGA team for the longevity and generosity of their sponsorship of the great event.
He said this was his favourite event of the year.
He went onto thank his fellow competitors, Paul Thomas, Gordon Christie, Rod Kiley and Mark Kelly for their efforts on the day and no doubt will be looking for that qualifying mark in 2021, so he can once again challenge the best in the club and beat them in the event he is becoming legendary in.
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