BATHURST’S bid to claim the division one Central West District Golf Association pennants crown got off winning start on Sunday as it posted a narrow 3-2 win over Cowra.
Twelve months ago in the corresponding fixture, Cowra was a comfortable winner but in 2019 with a new-look line-up, Bathurst got the job done at Orange’s Ex-Services Golf Club.
After missing last year’s semi-finals – placing third in its pool behind Forbes and Cowra – the combination of experienced number one Reece Hodson, debutant Adam Hodges, Matthew Phillips, Ben Mackey and Parkes recruit Justin Sutton headed to Ex-Services hoping to make an impact.
Both Hodges and Phillips showed good touch with long drives and pushed their Cowra rivals before suffering narrow losses.
Phillips’ tie was decided on the 18th, while Hodges took his first division one pennants match to the 17th where went down 2 and 1.
It was number three Ben Mackey who then opened the account for Bathurst and did so in convincing fashion with a 6 and 4 win. It was an effort which impressed captain Darryn Bruce.
“Ben Mackey started with the longest drive of the day on the first and didn’t look back,” Bruce said.
“I’ve watched Ben get better and better each year he’s been in division one pennants his name now is whispered by opponents as being tough to beat and this proved the case.”
Sutton beat his rival 3 and 2 to lock things up, so it came down to the battle of the number ones.
Hodson was pitted against Peter Kirwan, a man who has won the last 13 consecutive Cowra club championship crowns and claimed the honours in the 2018 Parkes Open.
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But Hodson, Bathurst’s club champion, got the job done.
“[It was] all pretty even until a stretch that started at the ninth and suddenly Reece was four up and he held on for a 3 and 2 win,” Bruce said.
It was a tough day for Bathurst’s other pennants outfits. The division two and three teams began their title defence with a 4-1 loss to Cowra, while division four went down by the same margin.