Hodgson just beats Croudis in Island Park nines

It went down to the wire at the Island Park nines competition over the weekend.

In an all-Otago Golf Club affair, Brandon Hodgson defeated last year's champion Duncan Croudis on the last hole at the Island Park Golf club late on Sunday.

The untimely recent wet weather meant the Waldronville course had not been maintained to its usual condition. Greens staff left the majority of the rough to dry and mowed only segregated landing zones on the fairways to avoid cutting the course up.

Only a week ago both players found themselves in the Otago matchplay championships second division after lacklustre qualifying performances.

However Hodgson's form from the beginning was an ominous warning to the field, qualifying top on 38 gross stablefords on a day when only three others bettered par in qualifying.

Hodgson also capped off the weekend with a career highlight, aceing the 161m par 3 14th.

It was not the first hole in one for the day as local member John Forrester also hit the perfect shot on the same hole.

Phil Bungard (Island Park) and Ben Patston (Otago) both bettered par in qualification to earn a bye.

Bungard reached the semifinals. However Patston fell to an already warmed-up Croudis.

On the other side of the draw, former semifinalists Brent Butler (Chisholm Links) and Michael Smith (Island Park) progressed through to the quarterfinal stage.

Butler was knocked out in the first of two chip-offs for the day by Taieri junior Hayden Robertson while a somewhat scratchy Smith fell to Hodgson.

After already facing high temperatures of about 30 degC on Saturday and more warm weather and fatigue setting in, both semifinals went the distance.

Hodgson earned a spot in the final over Robertson while the semifinal between Croudis and Bungard nearly went to the chip-off.

However, Bungard's birdie chip lipped out while Croudis holed a 3m par putt to progress to the final.

Once again, the final went to the ninth hole all square but the Croudis fell victim to the greenside rough, failing to make it on to the green for three, leaving Hodgson a comfortable two putts for the Wray Cup.

Robertson capped off a solid weekend beating Bungard for third place on the seventh hole.

Joseph Hancock (St Clair) won the Dore Cup for the plate.

 - Michael Minty

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