Pennant playoffs come early

FINALS will come early to scratch pennant golf on Sunday, with Yarrawonga and Beechworth to meet in a cut-throat final round clash at Jubilee.

The two teams sit on top of the ladder, but a loss for either could cost them a spot in the decider.

Mansfield sits half a win behind Beechworth and one behind Yarrawonga ahead of its clash with out-of-contention Wodonga.

But Yarrawonga will be without its star No. 1 Jay Ar Martin for the final round and most likely the final.

The undefeated Martin has moved to Queensland.

His place was taken by Division 2 scratch player Andrew Long at the weekend as Yarrawonga won 3-2 against Wodonga at Mansfield.

“We played Andrew Long in the No. 1 spot against Peter Miller and he played really well but lost at the 19th,” playing captain Chris Burgess said.

“He birdied the last to take it to an extra hole but then pulled his tee shot into the trees on the next.

“Filling that spot is tough — players like Jay Ar don’t come along that often.

“There is talk we could fly him back for the final but that will depend on who we play and if we make it.

“Whoever plays No. 1 this week will have to play Nathan Schneider, so it is a tough ask for anyone — Jay Ar included.”

Burgess said the final would come down to the number of matches played.

“We are now half a game behind Beechworth after Benalla forfeited to them,” he said.

“It is pretty disappointing from that club’s point of view not to be able to find five players who could travel just down the road to Mansfield.

“If you are going to be part of a competition you need to commit to the season, not drop out when you are out of contention.

“The forfeit gave Beechworth a 5-0 win and the advantage over us in terms of games won.”

Beechworth would create history if it makes the final.

The club returned to Division 1 scratch golf at the start of the season when the number of players was cut from seven to five.

Pennant captain Dylan Pool believes it has been three decades since the club made the finals of the North East elite matchplay competition.