CHRIS Dunn picked a good time to hit form — the final 36 holes of Port Fairy Golf Club’s A grade championship.
The 28-year-old clinched consecutive victories on Sunday with an even-par round of 72, a day after he blew the race for the crown apart with a one-under 71.
He finished with a four-round total of 291, three-over par, 14 shots clear of Craig Bramley, who also finished in style with an even par round.
The victory made it three triumphs in four years for Dunn. “It’s a sense of relief,” he said.
“Everyone was sort of expecting it a little bit, especially when you go into the final round with a 12-shot lead. I know how easy it is to hit four balls out of bounds or into the marram.”
Dunn’s sense of nervousness was heightened when he hit his drive on the opening hole right into the marram grass on Sunday.
After hitting a provisional ball off the tee on the par-five, negative thoughts started to creep in.
But he found his first drive nestled in thick rough, hacked out a wedge 20 metres and then hit it to about five metres and made the birdie putt.
But it sharpened his focus, hoping to shoot under par in search of breaking last year’s record tally.
But bogeys at the third and fifth holes ended those chances as he finished with four birdies and four bogeys for the day.
“It’s always nice to win back-to-back,” he said.
“It’s nice to put a couple together when everyone is head-hunting you and supporting the underdog.”
Dunn, who played the final weekend with the same tees in his pockets and a Papua New Guinea 20 cent coin his brother gave him several years ago as his ball marker, entered the championships with only one competitive round in five months. He rated last year’s victory higher.
“The second one would have to be the favourite, with the course record and (overall) score record. But this one was pretty nice knowing there hadn’t been a lot of practice. It was more of a battle. You know what you want to do but doing it wasn’t always easy,” he said.
The Melbourne-based school teacher said he relaxed after smacking his drive on the 17th left down the neighbouring second fairway, away from the out of bounds fence running down the right.
“I thought ‘I’m safe now’,” he said.
“Some people were a bit shocked it went so far left.”
With the southerly wind pushing right, he flirted with the out of bounds, missing the green. But he chipped up and made par.
Dunn said the key to his victory was Saturday’s 71 when he produced his best ball-striking performance in “a long time” and stretched a four-shot lead into 12.
“Saturday was good. I hit 15 greens in regulation and one was under regulation, but I just didn’t hole any putts,” he said.
“But on Sunday I hit eight greens in regulation and binned everything.”