New Sawtell club champion Brad Waterhouse.
New Sawtell club champion Brad Waterhouse. BRUCE THOMAS

Waterhouse victorious

AFTER reclaiming the Sawtell Golf Club club championship that he first won back in 2008, Brad Waterhouse believes that there are two things that earned him this year's prize.

His new irons and his putter.

In February Waterhouse found the cash necessary to purchase a new set of custom-fitted Mizuno irons and his handicap has come in from six to three since he made the purchase.

His putter was the old and trusty one that he's used for a while, but Waterhouse said that it helped him get out of jail on a few occasions during the championships.

"The greens were nice but they were a bit quicker than I was used to and I really didn't get used to the pace," Waterhouse admitted.

"I charged past the hole a few times by about eight feet but made some good putts coming back."

The Sawtell title was decided over 36 holes after the first weekend of play was washed out. This came on top of the original championship dates back in March also being washed out.

The shortened format meant that the new champ knew a good start was vital if he was going to win the club's top award back from Warwick Lynch.

Waterhouse was the equal leader after the first round when he shot an even par round along with Brad Lewis.

Trevor Ridge who has his name on the Sawtell trophy more than any player was four-over after the first round while Kenny Higgins and Tim Bennett were a further shot back.

After 12 holes of the second round, the lead was being shared by Waterhouse and Bennett, who was playing in the group ahead.

The pair were on six-over at the time, but some nerves were settled by a birdie on 13 from the new champ.

"Standing on the 17th tee I saw Tim make a birdie on 18 so I thought I'd have to go birdie-par to get into a playoff," Waterhouse said.

"I knocked it on for two on the par-five and made birdie then going up 18 I hit a good drive to within 155 metres then played the approach shot to 12 foot above the hole so I was left with a slippery downhill putt to make birdie."

At this point the winner still thought he was in a tie for the lead and thought he'd need to make the final putt for victory.

Seeing Bennett who was waiting greenside to watch the final group, Waterhouse asked his leaderboard rival what score he finished with for the day.

"He said 'two" which I thought meant two-under which meant I had to make the putt," he said.

"Tim then said 'no, two-over' but I wasn't sure whether he was having me on or not so I thought I should try and drop the putt just in case.

"It went in and it turned out that Tim wasn't lying and I won."

Waterhouse claimed victory by four shots, but he admitted that at no stage did he believe that he had a lead that big despite playing the last six holes in three-under.

It was enough to have his name on the honour board for a second time, an achievement that Waterhouse is proud of.

"It was very satisfying to know that I could handle the pressure," he said.

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