IAN Baker and Michael Scott have emerged from an epic qualifying process to win their places in this Sunday’s Wonthaggi Golf Club Championship final over 36 holes of matchplay.
But just getting there in one piece is no mean feat.
After two qualifying rounds of 18 holes, over consecutive Saturdays, four golfers took their places in last Sunday’s semi-finals, also over 36 holes of matchplay.
Captain of the club Danny Crellin, the hero of Wonthaggi’s Division One Pennant victory this year, was up against the in-form Michael Scott and club president, Darren Green, faced off against club legend Ian Baker.
There was only one shot between Crellin and Scott after 22 holes but it was on the fifth, the second time around, that Scott started to pull away.
Crellin took what he described as a “bad bogey” and Scott a regulation par to stretch the lead to 2-up. He was 3-up on the seventh and when he sank a 25-foot putt on the 8th it was four.
Playing sub-par golf over the closing stages, he despatched Crellin 8&6 on the 12th.
The Green-Baker battle was nowhere near as clear cut.
Baker got out to as many as 6-up on the first 18 but Green steadily pegged him back, especially with some great scrambling out of difficult positions.
The shot he played on the 5th, coming through a gap in the trees, hitting a branch and landing 10 feet from the pin, was one such occasion.
The pair were neck and neck over the closing stages and halved the 36th hole with pars.
They walked to the first again for the third time in the day and both hit good drives down the middle but Green’s luck finally ran out when he hit his second shot into the water.
Baker finished the match with a flourish by making his birdie and the pair trudged back to the clubhouse after a huge day.
So it’s Scott versus Baker in the final this Sunday, in the time-honoured championship format of 18, 18, 36 and 36 holes of golf but Crellin says the marathon process is unlikely to change.
“That’s the way it’s always been played and I can’t see it changing,” he said.
“Some say it favours the younger players but it’s usually always the in-form players who come through,” he said.
The golfers to qualify in the other grades are as follows:
A Minor: Kevin Bayley v Paul Schultz. B Grade: Paul Davies v Graham Crawford. C Grade: John Geyer v Brett O’Halloran. D Grade: John Davies v Kevin Green.
Ian Baker survives epic golf battle at Wonthaggi