Chris Lennon won the Matchplay Championship at Banbridge Golf Club when he defeated Roy Sipson 2 up in an amazing final.
In the semi-finals, Chris had beaten Ashton Clydesdale 3 and 1 and Roy had beaten John McCormac 4 and 3.
Roy, a very experienced matchplayer who plays off an 8 handicap, had to give Chris a total of 10 shots. Nevertheless, Roy would have started as strong favourite.
This was the first time that Chris had played in the matchplay and some pundits thought that the occasion might prove too much for him. How wrong could they be!
This is how the final unfolded:
Hole 1: Chris got a lovely par and won the hole (+1)
Hole 2: Both parred the hole. Chris won it with a nett birdie. (+2).
Hole 3: Roy hit a superb approach and won the hole with a par. (+1).
Hole 4: A par for Roy. Chris used his shot to get a half. (+1).
Hole 5: The toughest hole on the course. Roy levels the match with a brilliant birdie. (0).
Hole 6: Chris hooked his tee-shot onto the 7 th fairway, pitches over the pond to 2 feet and wins the
hole with a birdie. It was an incredible shot. (+1).
Hole 7: Not so good here. The hole was halved in bogey 5’s. (+1).
Hole 8: Back to par golf. Roy and Chris both had 3’s. (+1).
Hole 9: Chris lost his way at this hole and Roy won it with a conceded par. (0).
At the halfway stage, the match was all-square. Their better ball was 4 under par nett.
Hole 10: Chris won this long par three with a nett 3. He was in the lead again. (+1).
Hole 11: Another very difficult par four. Chris won it with a par, nett birdie. (+2).
Hole 12: Both missed the green. Both chipped and putted for pars. Another half. (+2).
Hole 13: Chris went astray. Roy won it with a par. (+1).
Hole 14: What a battler Roy is! He birdied this long par five and squared the match. (0).
Hole 15: Chris hit the green. Another great shot! He won the hole with a par. (+1).
Hole 16: Two super tee-shots. Both approaches hit the back bank. Roy rolled back onto the green, Chris stayed on the bank. Roy won the hole with a par. It’s level once again. (0).
Hole 17: The crucial hole in a nail-biting match. Chris drove into the trees left. Roy was on the back of the green in two. Chris chipped out of the trees and he was on the green in three shots (nett 2).
Roy had an almost impossible downhill putt. If he hit it softly, it would stay on the top tier. Hit it a little too firm and it was off the green. The outcome couldn’t have been worse. The putt gathered speed and it rolled past the pin and into the greenside bunker.
Roy’s recovery was fantastic. The ball finished two feet from the hole and the putt was conceded for a bogey 5. Chris knew what he had to do. Two putts, a nett 4 and he was dormie one up. The young man had nerves of steel. (+1).
Hole 18: Both hit good tee shots and both came up a fraction short. Both chips were average and both Roy and Chris took 4’s. Chris won the hole with his shot and he won the match 2 up. (+2).
Chris was never behind in this unbelievable match. Roy played brilliantly, as we all knew he would.
But Chris stayed calm and produced winning shots when he needed them. The match was a credit to both players and it was a pity there had to be a loser.
Chris Lennon is the Champion Golfer for the 2016 season and he should be very proud of his achievement.