Finishing strong is a topic on which sport psychologists spend a lot of time working with elite golfers. But the concept is not lost even at the club level.
At Highland Pacific on Sunday, Jeremy Dennett offered a good example of the importance of a solid finish in winning his second men’s club championship in three years.
After playing the Pacific nine in 2-under 33, the Saanich resident found himself struggling to get back to par through most of the back nine on the Highland side of the course.
Then came the 500-yard 16th hole – number 7 as it’s known on the high side. Dennett pounded out a 300-yard drive on the par 5 hole, hit his approach to within about six feet of the pin and holed it for an eagle to move back to even par.
He said he felt confident teeing it up on the par 4, 385-yard 17th hole. He hit another solid drive, stroked a wedge to reach the green and came ever so close to sinking his putt for birdie. Likewise on the par 3 18th hole. His finish gave him a 71 for the day in the rain-shortened tournament, enough for a four-stroke victory over runner-up Kyle Leiman.
“I actually thought I made both the putts coming in,” said Dennett, who also won this event in 2014. “I figured going into the day if I was anything under par I would have a chance to win.”
While for the most part players didn’t have much of an idea how everyone else was playing, the champ was aware that one of his playing partners, Aiden Wong, had a good round going. “He was playing really well, I figured he had to be one of the closest guys to me,” Dennett said.
Wong posted the third lowest score in the men’s low gross category at 77, but took second in the low net division at 67, two behind low net winner Rob Bowden.
Jim Clapp wound up third low gross at 79, followed by Steve Hansen at 80. Third low net was Philip Hagel at 68, followed by Greg LaFace at 70.
On the women’s wide, Candace Whitney racked up her third straight club title by posting an 89, while Sandy Sparanese took second at 91.
Miranda Jones captured the low net crown with a 69, four better than runner-up Joan Henderson.
The tournament saw 27 players compete. It was scheduled to be a 36-hole event, but heavy rain Saturday left the greens unplayable.