Golf Australia

Emotional Toyne snares national title

Steve Toyne
Steve Toyne shows off his first national championship trophy.

Steve Toyne has won his share of golf events across three continents, but he's never had a more moving experience on the golf course.

The Queenslander capped a spectacular week today, taking down the Australian Senior Match Play Championship with a tight 2&1 triumph over defending champion Gordon Claney at Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club.

After a pulsating clash in which the lead was never more than one hole either way until the 16th, Toyne cashed in on a great four-iron tee shot to the long par-three 17th, lagging down his first putt to within 15cm and earning a concession from the Victorian that sent his heart racing.

"I've won some things in my life, but you can't describe that feeling," Toyne said.

"Walking on to that 17th green, it's all in my favour and things would have to go right for him to beat me, but still the emotion gets the better of you.

"There were 20-odd people wandering and watching and it was just fantastic feeling."

Toyne, 59, won a prestigious junior event as a 17-year-old in his native Africa that earnt him selection to an international event.

He then played county golf in England before moving to Australia in the mid-1980s.

"But this is a national title -- it really stands out above them all," said a clearly emotional Toyne, the fifth seed who'd reached the final by taking down top seed Greg Rhodes yesterday.

"It's even more special because we played a great match and I respect Gordon's game a lot -- he's got lots of experience and plays high-class pennant in Melbourne.

"All 32 of us in this field have got the ability to win this, so I'm really proud of this and to have beaten Greg yesterday and then Gordon today is the icing on the cake."

Toyne said during the week his game plan was to play his own game and not be distracted by what was happening around him.

"I really did that well today, I stuck to my game and there's a number of par-fours on where you drive with a 3-wood and I did that well and never really missed the middle of the fairway all day.

"When you take that angst (of playing form the rough) out of the game, everything else falls into place."

Claney, the 2014 national senior amateur champion, jumped in front with a win on the second hole, but watched as Toyne won the fourth and then ceded the lead for the first time with a three-putt bogey on the fourth.

The Victorian pulled level again with a birdie on the sixth, but gave the lead back to Toyne with another three-putt bogey from long range.

Toyne twice lipped out for birdie on the 10th and 11th, then watched as Claney made a great save from the sandy on the 12th, then birdied the 13th to have the match square again.

The Indooroopilly member let slip a golden chance when his short birdie try on the par-five 14th went awry, but regained the lead when Claney bogeyed the 15th after missing the green long from a fairway bunker.

A conceded birdie to Toyne on the 16th put the Victorian on the brink and he reached out to shake hands on the 17th after his own birdie try missed and Toyne lagged to gimme range.

The consolation match for third place was won by Victorian Rhodes, who took down New South Welshman David MacClelland 6&5.


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