GOOD mates who have played in countless golf competitions together over more than 30 years finally broke through for their first win on Saturday.
Russell Lewis and Kym Sykes put together a combined 73 stableford points to win the Mick Gill Combined Pairs at the Mount Gambier Golf Club by a single point from Peppi Pace and Tim Kenny.
While Lewis plays off a seven handicap, it was 24-handicapper Sykes who played the best round for longer than he could remember to contribute 42 of the 73 points.
“My game falls away when I get within 30 metres of the green, but I actually chipped and putted well this time,” he said.
One of those putts was a three-footer for birdie on the par-three eighth hole for an invaluable four points.
Coincidentally Lewis also made birdie on that hole for a combined seven points.
Sykes finished the front nine with 20 points, but things got even better on the back nine.
He got up-and-down from the greenside bunker on the par 3 10th hole for another four points and made par again on the par 4 14th for another four.
While the pair did not do their best work on the final few holes, they did well enough to be the only team to better their combined handicaps on the day.
While Sykes made the major contribution in their pairing, Pace and Kenny shared the workload with 36 points apiece for a total of 72.
Unfortunately for Pace he failed to score on his last hole – the par 4 18th – despite a good drive, when just one more good shot could have seen them jump into the lead.
In last Thursday’s stableford competition, Wayne Davison finally broke through for a win after a series of close shaves in recent months.
Back in March, Davison, who happens to be one of the most talented amateur chess players in Australia, notched up 43 points, only to be relegated to second place by Graham Patterson.
But on Thursday 39 points was good enough to claim first place from the in-form Tim MacLean.
Davison, who would be the first to admit consistency has not been his strong suit, started his round on the par 3 10th hole.
After opening with a three-point par he fell away with a bogey for two points on the 11th hole, a double bogey for just one point on the 12th and a wipe for zero on the 13th.
“My game has been all over the place and at that stage I thought it was just going to be another terribly inconsistent round,” the 19-handicapper said.
But he turned things around in a hurry.
Two points for a bogey on the 14th hole was followed by four consecutive three-point holes to close out the back nine with a more-than-respectable 20 points.
His front nine was steady and after more three-point pars on the fifth and sixth, he reached his final hole, the par 4 ninth on 36 points.
Thanks to “the longest drive I’ve ever hit,” he pocketed another three-point par to end with 39.
Unfortunately for MacLean, another late fade-out proved costly.
After a steady 18 points on the front nine – which included a wipe on the par 6 sixth – he caught fire on the eighth.
A birdie-two for three points kick-started an incredible eight-hole stretch which he played in one-under par off the stick to tally up 23 points.
That saw him on the 16th tee with 35 points already in the bag and three holes to play.
But not for the first time he could not seal the deal, managing only three points in those last three holes with a wipe on the 16th, a double bogey for one point on the 17th and a two-point par on the 18th.
But while Davison got the cash on Thursday, his luck ran out on Friday night.
He was unable to attend the club because of a work-related engagement, only to learn his number had come up in the members draw and he had missed out on $500.