Dale Turner produced a storming finish to claim a second straight Penrith Golf Club Match Play Championship on Saturday.
In a gripping final that was literally the master versus the apprentice, 48-year-old Turner outlasted 21-year-old Michael Organ to win on the 34th hole.
The pair first crossed paths when Organ played in the under-15 cricket team coached by Turner, who over seven years from the mid 90s was a member of the NSW and Queensland cricket squads.
Turner described his young charge as a stout opening batsmen and on Saturday Organ displayed that same determination as he kept taking the fight to the reigning champ in a high-quality contest.
There can be no doubt over Turner’s resilience after consecutive Match Play titles and certainly the manner of Saturday’s victory.
But what many do not know is it is 10 years since he was diagnosed with leukemia, which he overcame but where the treatments attacked his bones and he needed hip replacement surgery.
Unlike last year’s final where Turner defeated Gordon McCall 6 and 5, he found himself having to fight back a number of times.
Turner led 1-up through nine holes and claimed the 10th before Organ made a great par save to win the 11th.
Turner then birdied the 12th and 13th holes for a 3-up lead but Organ again answered the challenge when he won the 15th and reduced the margin to just one hole when he hit his second shot to six metres on the par-five 17th and two-putted for birdie.
Organ’s power game was again on display on the par-five 19th hole when he reached the front fringe for two and made birdie.
A sensational scrambling par on the 20th gave Organ the lead and he had all the momentum.
He could have been 2-up on the 23rd but Turner produced one of the shots of the day when he made par after a penalty drop with a brilliant punch shot under trees from 145 metres to two metres and holed the putt for par.
Turner then put his foot down with birdies on the 24th, 25th and 26th to lead 2-up.
Organ cut the deficit to one with another fine scrambling par on the 29th hole, and the match was set for a barnstorming finish, but Turner produced two moments of genius to settle the contest.
After the 30th and 31st holes were halved, Turner birdied the 32nd where his approach clipped the flagstick and settled inside a metre. He then hit a superb tee shot to just outside a metre on the par-three 33rd for another birdie and just like that was 3-up with three to play.
Turner hit probably his best drive of the day on the 34th and a fine approach from 150 metres to inside six metres set up a rock-solid par and the title was again his.
Organ was outstanding throughout the match with his driving a feature. The upside of his game seems to have no limit and major club titles cannot be far away.
The A Reserve final between reigning champion Anthony Swinfield and Craig Coulter could not be played after Swinfield succumbed to a virus.
Coulter must be commended after he refused to accept a forfeit and the match has been rescheduled for this Saturday, weather permitting.
The C Grade final between Blake Messenger and Nathan Byrnes will be played on April 9.