Golf Australia

Mazda Four-Ball champions decided

Mazda Four-Ball mixed winners
Mixed champions Peter and Sue Haylock (Warrnambool Golf Club)

As if the challenge of taming The National Golf Club wasn’t hard enough, the field at the 2017 Mazda Victorian Four-Ball Championship State Final had to battle torrential rain and savage winds on Tuesday.

After teeing it up at the neighbouring Sorrento Golf Club on Monday, the 100 women’s, men’s and mixed pairs journeyed south to Cape Schanck to decide the 21st Mazda Four-Ball Final.

Ill fortune struck for the men’s afternoon field, who caught the worst of the weather, with play ultimately abandoned due to lightning in the area and all second round scores declared void.

However before the lightning threatened, it was a case of sweet redemption for the 2017 women’s champions, Cecily Pezet and Jan Kreymborg.

After a phenomenal 50 points at Sorrento, the Spring Valley duo entered the second and final round with a six-point buffer over the field.

Pezet and Kreymborg’s 32 points around The National’s Ocean Course in the morning’s gusty conditions was more than enough to keep the field at bay, the pair ultimately saluting by two points over Eastern Golf Club’s Jane Neale and Ann Bramstedt.

The Spring Valley members earned their place as one of 100 pairs in this week’s field through qualification at Commonwealth Golf Club.

They were ecstatic to win the women’s division after qualifying for the Final previously, but being unable to take up their place in the field.

“Absolutely thrilled. It was a big surprise actually, we’re very excited,” said Cecily Pezet, who plays off a handicap of 11.

“It’s a great atmosphere. Everyone’s really supportive of each other and encouraging of each other so we got to know some really lovely people.”

So good was the pair’s opening round performance, Kreymborg’s handicap dropped by a shot to 14 overnight.

“It was very challenging at The National. Yesterday at Sorrento we had a day out,” said Kreymborg.

“We worked out that we actually parred the course between the two of us. We had fourteen pars, two birdies and two bogeys - 50 points - which really got us over the line today.”

Also braving the conditions in the morning were those fighting for the mixed competition crown.

Warrnambool Golf Club’s Peter and Sue Haylock fired an outstanding 39 points on Tuesday to take out the mixed competition in a count back over Tony Green of Lakeside Golf Club and Gisborne Golf Club’s Suzanne Velk.

The Haylocks, off 19 and 13 respectively, are now one from one after taking out the silverware in their first Mazda Four-Ball Final.

Sue admitted after collecting the winner’s trophy that she did draw some inspiration from a fellow Victorian over the weekend.

“It’s surreal really,” said Sue Haylock.

“Marc [Leishman] did inspire me yesterday. I was feeling very excited.

“We thought we’d lost it when I didn’t take an extra shot yesterday at Sorrento and I picked my ball up on the 14th.

“I thought ‘I think we’ve blown this’, but somehow we came out with a win and it’s fantastic!”

After watching the carnage unfold on the Ocean Course throughout the morning, the men donned the wet-weather gear and headed out hoping for skies to clear.

The weather held tight as the men plodded majority of their way around the challenging layout, but with just a few pairs left on course, lightning struck and play was forced to be abandoned.

In a bizarre finish, the day’s play was dubbed defunct and the tournament was decided based upon the first round scores only.

Overnight leaders, Mark Krusic and Chris Hudson, who scored 53 points at Sorrento ultimately declared the men’s champions.

"Yesterday everything lined up. When I had a bad hole, he had a good one and vice verser," said Hudson.

"We were doubtful if we would get out there at all [today] but we did and we stuck it out for a little bit. Then downpour after downpour and we heard the siren and came in."

The Mazda Victorian Four-Ball Championship was established in 1997, with 2017 proving to be the biggest staging of the event in its history.

In total, 1081 pairs teed it up in a Mazda Four-Ball event this year, with the 2162 participants making Golf Victoria’s highest participation event ever.

Again in all qualifying rounds and the State final, a Mazda 3 Maxx was up for grabs to any player able to drain a hole-in-one on the designated par-3 hole.

Two cars were given away in 2015 but the drought will continue until next year, after no player was able to knock in an ace in any of this year’s 25 events.

“I’ve actually got a Mazda CX-5,” said women’s champion Jan Kreymborg.

“I love my car, I must say it’s been my favourite car that I’ve owned so far.

”I was hoping to update it but it wasn’t to be!”

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