DANNY Crellin claimed yet another Wonthaggi Golf Club Championship title last Sunday but one that meant more than the others after dedicating the win to his late father, John.
A familiar figure in the Crellin support team through qualifying and championship finals over the years, and a fine golfer in his own right, John was keenly missed on Sunday, as he has been over the past three months since his passing.
The day of five championship finals started under leaden skies, in sub-tropical conditions, with early showers adding a degree of difficulty for the golfers.
But it didn’t detract from the standard of play especially in the A Grade final where Danny Crellin was opposed to Ian Baker in a 36-hole match-play final.
After 10 holes scores were level with both players under par.
The pair went through 18 playing subpar golf but with Crellin holding up to a 5-up advantage due mainly to his superb efforts with the putter.
Not only did he sink some long, breaking putts to win holes outright, he also holed out to protect his lead, as he did on the 17th when dropping a tricky 9 footer downhill.
The only blemish for Crellin on the first 18 was four-putting the 18th after landing centre back for three, to have a gettable putt for birdie.
He dropped back to four-up at the turn but it was still a handy lead at the lunchbreak.
The players had an hour off but came out 10 minutes early to hit the putting green. Practice makes perfect.
Off the 19th tee (1st hole second time around) Crellin cracked one down the centre and then landed his second on the green. Not bad on a par 5 hole. He won the hole to reclaim the 5-up lead but just as quickly gave it up when Baker hit the middle of the second.
On the third Baker hit a long draw to be in prime position while Crellin hit too straight and was in trouble right. He had a shot though, between the trees off a hairy lie, and landed back of the green. Baker took wedge and landed mid-green and two-putted for the win to make it only 3-up and game on!
The par three fourth played longer than usual into a northwest wind and neither player made the green. Crellin took the advantage with a fine chip and was looking at par from two metres, 4-up again.
Both players were on the par four 5th for two and made easy pars.
The sixth was advantage Crellin again after three shots straight up the centre to two metres from the pin and a putt for par. Baker hit a brave shot from under the trees with a six iron to the middle of the green for three but wasn’t close enough to get the putt; Crellin 5-up now.
The seventh was a carbon copy of the sixth Crellin straight and Baker a bit wayward into a small sand patch near the bee hive. Crellin had a relatively easy putt for birdie but missed it and Baker miraculously halved it to limit the damage.
Both players hit the 8th green; Crellin with an 8-iron short and Baker closer but Crellin sunk a super long one, hitting the cup at speed for birdie. It was too much for Baker, he missed his putt and Crellin was 6-up and running away with it.
Crellin made a very adventurous par on the 10th to hold his lead and Baker’s chances were ebbing away as both tee shots were straight up the middle on the 11th but it was superb country golf watched by a small but appreciative gallery.
Baker won the 12th to cut the lead to six but with Crellin in good position on the 13th green Baker called the match in his opponent’s favour.
Afterwards Baker paid tribute to Crellin’s leadership on the playing side of the club, especially at pennant level, and the consistently excellent standard of his golf in recent years. As already mentioned, Danny Crellin dedicated the win to his constant companion at championship time each year, but not this year, his late father.
Crellin claims emotional golf championship