Talented squad of Noosa golfers take on Pennant Finals

Front L-R: Amy Coates, Ant Robb, Declan Hudson, Tommy Collett. Back: Max Rogers and Noosa Club Captain Bob Upham. Not shown: Cooper Liddell and Archie Lethbridge.

The 2024 Junior Pennant Finals were held at Mount Coolum Golf Club last Sunday.

After winning back to back to titles in 2022 and 2023, Noosa continued to impress by winning every game of the group stage.

Team manager Bob Upham and coach Jimmy Douris had the luxury of selecting from a talented squad of experienced juniors – Tommy Collett, Max Rogers, Cooper Liddell, Declan Hudson, Amy Coates, Ant Robb and Archie Lethbridge.

Every player has a handicap between 8 and 12 and all have come through the Noosa Golf Club cadet and junior coaching program.

The semi-final played at Woodford Golf Club on 26 May was a tight affair with Tommy Collett securing the vital point on the 18th green for a 2½ to 1½ win over Headland. This win set up a repeat of the 2022 final against Mount Coolum which came down to the final putt on the 18th green but no one could have predicted the contest would be even closer this time around.

Early on the front 9 there was a moment where Mount Coolum were ahead in every match but by the turn the sun came out and Noosa started to warm up. 10 year old Ant Robb was 4 down against Sam Wilson but had reduced it to 2 by chipping in from 40 feet for a birdie on the 15th. Now with the honour on the tee Ant struck a magnificent shot into the difficult par 3 16th.

It landed on the green, released up to the back pin and finished agonisingly a few centimetres short of an unbelievable hole in one.

Ant wasn’t finished, on the par 5 17th he wedged it close for the 3 consecutive birdies and now back to all square. In the 2012 Ryder Cup now known as ’The Miracle at Medinah’, Ian Poulter birdied the final 5 holes on the Saturday afternoon to win his match and inspire the European team who completed an amazing comeback victory on the Sunday. Are we about to witness ’The Miracle at Mount Coolum’?

Meanwhile up ahead in the first match Amy Coates was finishing an epic battle with Rory Habermann all square and heading down the first play-off hole. Ant struck another great approach to the back of the 18th green while his opponent found the deep front trap and a few shots later the comeback was complete – Noosa had the first point on the board.

Amy recovered well from behind a tree to stay alive at the 1st extra hole just as Declan Hudson was also finishing all square with Ollie Poulton on the 18th and heading into a play-off. And then the queue of social golfers waiting on the 1st tee got even longer as Tommy Collett won the final hole against Jarvis Miller to force another play-off.

Amy and Rory both hit good tee shots and wedges onto the 2nd green but Amy had the easier approach putt and rolled it up to 3 feet.

Rory’s fast downhill birdie putt for the win slid past the hole but continued for another 8 feet which he failed to make. Cool Amy tapped in for a par and the score is 2-0, one more point required for victory.

Declan halved the 1st with Ollie and split the fairway with his drive on the 2nd. He wedged it to 10 feet but his putt for birdie and the win didn’t drop so off they went to play their 21st hole of the day.

As they are leaving the green Tommy Collett’s monstrous drive runs up to the front apron, he will be chipping for his 2nd shot and it checks up just past the pin. Jarvis makes his par but the door is open and Tommy rolls in the birdie putt and it is all over, Noosa are the 2024 pennant champions. Declan went on to par the 3rd play-off hole to secure the 4-0 result but with every match being so close this contest could easily have gone either way.

The drama wasn’t over for the day, the Division 1 final between Caloundra and Pelican Waters finished 2-2 so the top pairing were selected for a sudden death play-off.

Eventually Ionna Muir defeated Miles Romagnolia at the 3rd extra hole to win the title for Pelican Waters. In a one-sided Division 3 Final Maroochy River beat Headland 3-1.