DEFENDING champions Jubilee has opened its title defence with an emphatic win over Benalla in North East golf scratch pennants.
Seven teams are part of a pennant year that has cut the number of players from seven to five.
Home course advantage has also been taken out of the equation with each club to have a bye and act as host when the round is played on their turf.
But on Sunday there was little change to the pecking order with last year’s finalists Jubilee and Yarrawonga recording strong wins.
Jubilee captain Michael Baillie said his team was happy to get away with the win — Steve Fisher forced to go to the 28th before claiming victory.
“Already we have seen just how close this competition is going to be and that match with Fisher was a prime example,” he said.
“It may be that at the end of the season that win is the one that gets us over the line.
“Yarrawonga have had a good win and will be hard to beat but there are plenty of others that will be in the mix as well.”
Baillie, voted as the player of the year in 2013, believes the new format is better for the pennant competition.
“Of course there is an advantage when you play at home,” he said.
“The round at Beechworth next weekend will be the only sandscrapes we play and I don’t think many of the players would have played there in 10 years — they would have been close to unbeatable on their home track.
“Cutting the numbers back to five per team means the competition is stronger — some clubs struggled to find seven players that could be competitive at that level.”