Victoria’s cardiac kids are again Australian men’s Interstate Series champions.
If it’s possible, the Vics retained the title they won on the final green last year with an even more heart-stopping win at The Grange Golf Club today.
Forced into an effective preliminary final in the morning against Western Australia, Victoria fought hard to even make the big dance with a tense victory steered home by David Micheluzzi on the 17th green for the final pairing.
Remarkably, Micheluzzi was then called on again to edge out Queensland in a show-stopping final, his conceded par – this time on the last hole – enough for a 2-up win over Shae Wools-Cobb upon which the entire week hinged.
Victoria, by total contests won throughout the week, had been the top seed, thereby owning the tie-break edge in the final. Micheluzzi’s win at the last hole brought Victoria to 4-all and the title was decided by that countback.
“I can’t believe it right now,” said Micheluzzi, who along with Queensland’s Jed Morgan were the only unbeaten players all week.
“That was some of the hottest pressure I’ve ever played under and I’m really proud of myself, but most importantly all the boys, to have pulled that off. It just shows you never stop fighting. That was unbelievable.”
Micheluzzi had been 1 down standing on the 10th tee and his match ebbed and flowed but never with more than a one-hole edge either way. But a spectacular 40-metre chip from a swale right of the 16th green proved critical, just when Wools-Cobb looked set to draw level.
As in any team matchplay event, there were many heroes on both sides. Queenslanders Charlie Dann, Doug Klein, the bulletproof Morgan and Louis Dobbelaar were all stellar in winning their matches, the latter with a holed chip for eagle to win 3&2 over Will Heffernan.
And on the Victorian side, newcomer Darcy Brereton and Kyle Michel were extremely efficient in their victories.
But special mention should go to Matias Sanchez, who took down world No.26 Dylan Perry 4&3 in a match of extreme quality. Sanchez, the quietly spoken 2017 Australian Amateur champion, was nothing short of brilliant in carding six birdies in a spectacular display with Perry also under par when the match reached its conclusion.
“I don’t know what it is,” Sanchez said. “I guess I just like the big moments. It’s great playing in the team and it’s a pretty special bunch of guys. I can’t believe we’ve done it again – especially like that.”
Western Australia, so gallant in losses to both finalists during the week, were tied with New South Wales for third, but finished fourth on countback of total matches won after NSW blitzed the Northern Territory 7-nil this morning.
The other impressive result of the final day belonged to Tasmania, who were finally rewarded in a close match with a 4-3 win over South Australia to edge past the hosts into fifth.
The 2-1-3 final analysis for Tasmania was probably not a great indicator of the influence the team had, with its half-point against Queensland critical in the final analysis. Tassie also pushed Victoria and New South Wales and finished with as many matches won as lost, indicating its potential next year when the series shifts to the Apple Isle.