Lake Karrinyup will bid to end one of the longest title droughts in Western Australian men’s Pennants golf when they meet Royal Perth in the Division One final this Sunday.
Lake Karrinyup have won just one top-flight men’s title, way back in 1953, and only returned to Division One this season for the first time since 1997.
And while they made a sluggish start to the season, losing their opening two matches, a run of four successive wins elevated Lake Karrinyup into the final, which will be decided over 36 holes, at Hartfield Golf Club.
A 5-2 win in an all-or-nothing clash with last year’s champions Gosnells at Melville Glades on Sunday completed the job.
“After tasting success in Division Two last year Lake Karrinyup Country Club is delighted to have a team playing off for the Division One Men’s Pennant in 2017,” the club’s president John Hanly said.
“It has been several decades since we were last in this position and we are excited at what our team have produced so far.”
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Lake Karrinyup’s place in the top-flight final is furnished by their Division Four team having also reached through to their decider on Sunday, against Royal Fremantle at Kwinana Golf Club.
“We have great depth amongst our player group which is evidenced by our undefeated Division Four team also making the final,” Hanly added.
“We wish both our Division One and Four teams every success on Sunday and look forward to spirited matches against Royal Perth Golf Club and Royal Fremantle Golf Club respectively.”
Standing in Lake Karrinyup’s way in the top division will, however, be a Royal Perth outfit that has a rich history of success in the tournament and who have been a class apart from the rest of the field this season.
A 4-3 defeat to Joondalup at the weekend was their first loss, although it arrived in the context of having already secured their final place after five successive wins to start the season.
Royal Perth will be gunning for their 22nd top-flight title on Sunday, which would draw them level with Royal Fremantle – who meet Mount Lawley in the Division Two final this weekend – as the most successful club in the tournament’s 95-year history.
“We are a club with a proud pennant history and focus and a win this weekend would be the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment from the players, caddies, committee members, volunteers and staff involved for many months this season,” Royal Perth general manager Brad Dawson said.
“To claim the club’s 22nd pennant title would be very rewarding and a credit to our entire Pennant team members at all levels.
“A win on Sunday will have Royal Perth draw level at the top of the overall Pennant leader board which will be a fantastic achievement for the club and the many players who have represented the club with distinction since the inception of the competition.
“There has been some excellent golf played during the qualifying matches and the final on Sunday will be no exception.”
Royal Perth, which will host the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open Championship in October, defeated Lake Karrinyup 5-2 in the second week of the season and are set to be bolstered by the return of 2016 WA Amateur champion Fred Lee, who was rested for the defeat to Joondalup at the weekend.
Lake Karrinyup could not afford such luxuries after they entered the final round in a three-way battle to reach the final.
Mandurah’s 4-3 loss to Cottesloe ended their own hopes and left Lake Karrinyup and Gosnells in a straight shoot-out for the final, after the defending champions had also recovered from a slow start to the season to climb back into contention.
But Lake Karrinyup asserted their authority over the contest early on and went on to bank the points they needed via wins from Jon Clancy, Kristian Mitchell, Simon Liddell and Nick Curnow in four of the first five matches out.
Royal Fremantle will bid to make an immediate return to the top-flight when they meet Mount Lawley in the Division Two final, which will also be staged at Hartfield.
Royal Freo were perhaps unlucky to go down last season – when their five defeats were all by a scoreline of 4-3 – but have been the stand-out club in Division Two so far as they completed a perfect record of six wins from six round-robin matches by whitewashing The Vines 7-0 on Sunday.
By contrast Mount Lawley, who also reached last year’s final, were far less convincing as they snuck into the decider despite a 6-1 defeat at the hands of WA Golf Club.
Mount Lawley began the day needing only one match win to go through but the afternoon would prove more nervy than expected as it took Michael Montgomery, in the fifth match out, to seal the deal with a 7&5 win.
That meant Hartfield were tipped out of second place – on a countback – after Mount Lawley beat them 4-3 the week before, when Mike Daly’s win on the 19th green proved the key moment in their seasons.
Wanneroo were consigned to relegation from Division Two despite a 4-3 win over Lakelands.
Wanneroo general manager Mark Jarmyn, Ben Callaghan, Klaus Fast and Jarred McCosh secured wins in the first four matches out, however, the one extra win Wanneroo needed to leap ahead of Lakelands eluded them.
Aaron Dobson, John Boulton and Jay Motzel got the wins to keep the Navy Blues up.
In Division Three, Nedlands won their clash against Rockingham 5-2 after the morning rain cleared to earn the right to meet Bunbury in the final.
Nate Plug, Harry Traylan and Jeremy Crabb – who fired a hole-in-one at Sun City a fortnight ago – claimed the decisive wins after the contest had been locked at 2-2.
Bunbury will be the favourites for the title after they won all of their round-robin contests and conceded just eight individual matches in the process.
Sea View finished their season with a 5-2 success over Sun City while Meadow Springs edged Kwinana 4-3.
Lake Karrinyup and Royal Fremantle will have two chances to claim a pennant this weekend with both also playing off in the Division Four final, but they are not the only club with that double opportunity with Bunbury and Chequers also mob-handed going into the weekend.
Bunbury finished top in both Division Three and Five – failing to lose a match in either division – and are set to meet Chequers in the latter division final.
Chequers will also be in action in the Division Seven final, against Gosnells, after snatching their place on the final weekend of the round-robin season.
Chequers defeated Wanneroo 5.5-1.5 but still needed Lake Karrinyup to defeat The Vines, which they duly managed by a 6-1 scoreline.
Gosnells held onto top place in the South Group, which they hosted on Sunday, as they watched Rockingham and Hartfield fail to get the results they needed to overtake them.
In Division Four both Lake Karrinyup and Royal Fremantle progressed with perfect records, although Lake Karrinyup had to wait until Sunday to confirm their place in the final after defeating Wanneroo 4.5-2.5.
That ensured Cottesloe’s 6-1 win over The Vines was good enough only for second place in the North Group. Royal Fremantle warmed up for the final with a 4-3 victory over Gosnells.
Bunbury and Chequers had already sealed their places in the Division Five final before the weekend, when heavy rain washed out play in Bunbury, while Lake Karrinyup claimed the only win of the weekend as the defeated The Vines 6-1 at Chequers.
KENNEDY BAY AND THE VINES DEFY THE ODDS
Kennedy Bay emerged a four-way scrap in Division Six (South) to book their final place against The Vines.
They headed into the final round knowing they needed Royal Perth to slip up and, after upholding their end of the bargain with a tight 4-3 win over Hartfield, were given the news they were after as Royal Fremantle snuck a 4-3 win over Royal Perth.
The Vines were also thankful for results elsewhere as Lakelands defeated Wanneroo 4-3 to allow them to claim top place with a 4-3 win over Sea View, that included 1up wins for Paul Oliver and Corey Limpitt.
Dave Cook and Justin McGavigan did also win on the 18th green for Sea View, who led the group for much of the season and who would have gone through to the final with a win.
Pinjarra confirmed that they would meet Mosman Park in the Division Eight final thanks to a 5-2 win over Kwinana. Both clubs are unbeaten in the division this season.
WA Golf Club also tied down their place in the Division Nine final, against Sun City, after casting aside Lake Karrinyup 6-1. Sun City halved their final-round match against The Vines.
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