HBA MGA - Hardaker takes out Bratish over Coombes by 0.4 shots
Seven Mile Beach, TAS, AU - Controversey reigned at the 2012 Bratish Open on Sunday, with Ben Hardaker pipping Stewart Coombes for the Claret Juggs on handicap. With the top two finishing equal on 93 strokes, it was the second event in a row where a play-off was scuttled by medios having to leave the course straight after the round. Although it wasn't Hardaker or Coombes, but their chauffer Dave Burdon who had been taking plenty of "hurry up" phone calls from the girlfriend in the last few holes. Forget the play-off, there wasn't even time for a chip or putt-off on the practice green.
Precedence had been set, though, and the most mediocre would be pronounced victor. A check of the handicaps, and Hardaker on 23.2 is declared the winner over Coombes (22.8) - by a grand total 0.4 shots. The result echoed across the car park as the as the boys were packing up the gear, and the kinda big cheque tossed into the car through the open window on their way out.
Hardaker's win marks his second of the season, after taking out the Am-Am in March, and his fourth on tour. Hardaker has also now won successive Bratish Opens after taking out the 2011 event - that's a lot of Juggs on display at home. Hardaker capped off a solid day by also taking out both the long drive and NTP.
Hardaker's win has put him $0.900,000 clear of Henry on the Chapter money list... but with Henry now gone for most-or-all of the rest of the season, he is a full $1.440,000 of Coombes in third place. This was a season-defining win.
Coombes was sitting pretty after the first nine, going around in a solid 41 shots, including sinking an 80m pitch shot... for par. Second half was a bit different though, and his 52 back nine ended up costing him the win. His 11-shot meltdown was enough to claim the stress-ball. James Teirney also ended with an 11-shot meltdown (at one point after 12 holes actually leading Hardaker by a shot but four 8s in the last six holes put paid to that), but a meltdown of that size to lose a major by 0.4 shots had to go to Coombes.
Sam Henry followed up his win at the FU Open with a third placing here, a 94 and only one shot behind the winner. Henry was thought to be gone inter-state by the time the Bratish Open rolled around, but a 4.00pm flight out on the afternoon of the event provided ample time for one final appearance. Great commitment.
David Hamilton came in fourth with 98. It was his highest finish of the season, but still down on his lofty heights of HobartMGA's debut season. Finishing in equal fifth was Brad Canning and JJ Zucco on 104. JJ continued his recent form lift for his second top-5 finish, while Canning had a day out with his first finish inside the top 10. Canning's effort was enough for him to take home the newly-created chapter award of a six-pack for the lowest handicapped score.
Ben March also won a six-pack on the day in the "NBA Draft Lottery" draw. A weighted-finish random draw where winning (Hardaker) will get you one chance, second (Coombes) will get you two, down to 12th (Adam Hall) getting you 12 chances. March's ninth place finish representing an 11.5% chance. Not bad going home with a six-pack after shooting 120.
Next tourney is the last major of the year, The MGA Championship. Sunday 5 August at North West Bay. Get on and register early!