TIMBOON Golf Club is small in size but big in quality after claiming its first men’s division one pennant title.
Timboon scored an emotional 4-3 triumph over Port Fairy in the Corangamite District Golf Association pennant grand final at Camperdown.
In a dramatic finish, the clubs were tied on three matches each, with Timboon veteran Alistair Gillin and Port Fairy club champion Chris Dunn locked in a tense struggle.
Gillin was one-up with three holes to play but manufactured an unlikely win on the par-four 16th after driving into trees.
But Dunn won the 17th and had a chance to send the match into sudden death when he putted for birdie from three-and-a-half metres on the par-five 18th after Gillin missed the green with his third shot. Gillin chipped to within 20 centimetres, ensuring a par, but Dunn’s putt narrowly missed, giving Timboon its breakthrough title.
“Every now and then someone at the club says we’d have a pretty good team if everyone plays pennant and we might be a chance,” Gillin said.
“But it’s never quite managed to happen.
“This year we got there. Happy for the club and the other guys.”
The 43-year-old has played pennant for the club consecutively since 1985, craving a win. All but one of those years was in division one.
He said the success meant a lot to many associated with the club, which first contested division one in the mid-1970s.
“It’s huge for the club. This is the fifth time we’ve made the final. We just hadn’t quite been strong enough,” Gillin said.
“A lot of people don’t realise how much personally it means to some of the blokes.
“For me, I’ve always made sure I’m at home and around to represent the club. To be able to be part of the side that wins it for the first time is a huge honour. We are all pretty happy.”
Gillin said several long-time players walked the fairways encouraging he and his teammates.
He said the win meant the world to people like Barry Cook, who had played for 45 years, with just a division two title his credit. Gillin, who was joined in the team by his younger brother Justin and cousin Rodney, said he knew walking off the 15th green the final was locked at 3-3 and it was down to him.
He said he tried to stay out of trouble but pulled his drive left on the 16th and into trees. Luckily, it dropped out on to the edge of the fairway before he hit an eight iron close to the pin, setting up an unlikely birdie and win.
“I was relieved I had been able to get it done,” Gillin said of his emotions.
He said all his teammates — Matt Hanson, Neil Gowland, Luke Smith, Wes Hollick, Justin and Rod — had all played for the club for several years.
Rod Gillin, Hollick and Hanson also won their matches. Rod Gillin, who travelled from his base in Horsham for all but one of the five preliminary rounds, normally played at number two but Alistair made the decision to drop him to three in the hope of getting a mismatch.
Port Fairy’s chances were hurt when Xavier McCartney broke his leg playing football the day before the final round. His teammates Troy Richardson, Nelson Williams and Scott Boschen won their matches.
In other grades, Peterborough upset raging division two favourite Cobden 4-3 in another dramatic finish.
Peterborough’s Michael Beer was the toast of his club after prevailing in a tense match against Brendan Hammond, winning on the 19th hole, sealing victory against the previously- undefeated Cobden side.
Cobden did have one reason to celebrate — its division three side emerged triumphant after Andrew Giles defeated Lake Bolac’s Andrew Lamont on the 20th hole to secure a 4-3 result.
In the handicap finals, Beeac defeated Apollo Bay in division one, Warrnambool won division two against Lismore 3-2 and the previously unbeaten Timboon was upstaged by East Framlingham 3-2 in division three.