Turner Reigns Supreme

Dale Turner completed a barnstorming run through the 2021 Penrith Golf Club Match Play Championships with an emphatic victory over Gordon McCall in Saturday’s 36-hole final.

Turner led from the first hole and was never headed as he outgunned McCall 6&5 with a superb display.

The Championship proved a victory lap for Penrith’s experienced golfers, represented by 47-year-old Turner and 55-year-old McCall.

Five members of the club’s heralded Major Pennant squad who qualified for the match play rounds were expected to dominate but after the first-round contests, four of them – qualifying medalist Craig Montgomery, second seed Alex Platts, third seed Josh Roberts and fifth seed Michael Organ – had been sent packing. And when McCall took out Chris Lawler in the semi-finals, the job was complete

In the final, Turner won the first two holes before McCall settled into the contest and reduced the margin to one hole when he birdied the par-5 sixth, where his third shot from 150 metres rattled the flagstick and stopped within tap-in distance.

Turner took control of the match when he won holes 9, 10, 11 and 12 to establish a 5-up lead and answered every McCall challenge on his march to victory. Indicative of this was when Turner birdied the 24th hole to match McCall, applied more pressure with a birdie on the next hole and denied McCall by holing a 5m par putt on the 26th.

McCall showed his fighting qualities by holing a 6m putt on the 29th hole to extend the contest and did it again with a 3m putt on the 30th.

The end came at the 31st, where Turner calmly two-putted from the fringe to claim victory.

Throughout the final, and indeed the entire Championships, Turner showcased his allround game. He was long off the tee and his great iron play set up a swag of birdies, many of which he converted with superb putting.

The A Reserve, B Grade and C Grade finals, played over 18 holes, saw enthralling contests.

 In A Reserve, Anthony Swinfield sprinted from the blocks to lead Chris Withers 3up through five holes before Withers, who eliminated top seed Jade McCoy in the semi-finals, fought his way back to level the contest at the 13thSwinfield regained the upper hand by winning the 16th hole.

Withers holed a great putt from seven metres on the 17th hole to take the match up the last but Swinfield calmly holed a testing downhill putt from two metres to claim the title.

In B Grade, Blake Phelps defeated Andrew Walker at the last, avenging the 19th hole semi-final defeat Walker inflicted on Blake’s father, Craig.

The finalists went to the final hole square and it was Phelps who prevailed after a great second shot over trees from the practice fairway set up an easy par for the win.

Mitch Davis was the only top seed to claim a title when he defeated Craig White 4&3 in the C Grade final.

Davis was an unstoppable force throughout the Championships, also defeating Daniel Fenech 2&1 in the first round and Nathan Walker 7&6 in the semi-finals.

The Match Play Championships attracted 118 entries for the qualifying medal. There were no walkover contests and credit must go to the players for this, and also for the spirit in which all matches were played.

Thanks also to the greens staff, who presented the course in immaculate condition despite inclement weather making their job a difficult one.