Golf: McEwan retains title on last green

Brent McEwan in action in the Otago strokeplay championship at Balmacewen at the weekend. McEwan shot a 24-under-par total of 270 to defend his title. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Brent McEwan in action in the Otago strokeplay championship at Balmacewen at the weekend. McEwan shot a 24-under-par total of 270 to defend his title. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Brent McEwan (St Clair) defended his Otago strokeplay title with a 4-under-par total of 280 in fine conditions at Balmacewen during the weekend.

He won by a single shot from course record holder Liam Balneaves (Greenacres) after the pair were locked in a head-to-head battle during the final round, where McEwan scored par 71 and Balneaves a 72.

The senior championship looked set to be decided in a playoff but McEwan edged ahead when Balneaves missed a sliding 2m putt on the final green.

The win was a satisfying start to the year for McEwan, who was pleased to stave off the Southland challenge and keep one of the top trophies in Otago. Kyle Geary (Chisholm Park) made no mistake in the senior B event, saving his best for the final round of 68, giving him a resounding 15-stroke victory.

Trevor Bolt (Otago) led from the start to the finish in the intermediate event and,despite a blowout in the final round, took the honours by seven shots from Balclutha junior Mathew Crawford.

Former Otago senior representative Mark Andrews (Taieri) shot rounds of 79 and 71 to win the masters (over-40) title which was decided over 36 holes.

Long-hitting Tyler McLean set the early pace in the senior event with a 4-under 67 to be three shots ahead of Balneaves.

Queenstown junior Dong Young Kim made the best start of the younger brigade, to lie in third place on 71, while Balmacewen club stalwart John McIntee was one further shot back.

McEwan was in a four-way tow for seventh with a 74, but he made amends with a 5-under 66 to share the overnight lead with Balneaves.

With a lacklustre 78, McLean slipped to third while another Queenstown junior, Chadol Han, added a 68 to his opening round of 78 to climb to fourth.

Both McEwan and Balneaves carded sub-par 69s yesterday morning to be on 209 going into the final round.

They were seven shots ahead of Han and 10 shots ahead of McLean, making it a two-way race over the final 18 holes.

Han finished third on 290 and Millbrook apprentice greenkeeper Kayne Wardell followed his good performance in last November's Taieri Classic with fourth place.

Others to feature in the event were Samson Kim (Queenstown) who finished fifth and

Michael Smith (Otago) and Mitch Bosley (Wanaka), who finished tied with McLean in sixth.