VICTORIA has completed an unprecedented clean sweep of state teams’ titles, downing Queensland 5-3 in the men’s final at Huntingdale.
A day after winning the women’s championship at Royal Melbourne and less than a month after winning the girls’ and boys’ trophies in South Australia, history was made when Brett Coletta sealed his No.3 match 3&1.
And then as the rest of the results fell Victoria’s way, the party began for the delirious home teams with the women’s squad watching in support.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Ben Eccles said after his quality match with Simon Viitakangas was halved, earning the Victorian skipper a medal as one of three unbeaten players for the week with five wins and two halves.
“To have the girls and boys, then the women all win, we were really keen to get the four up today and it couldn’t have worked out better.
“It’s a really proud day for me, but mostly the state – to do that for the first time ever is almost unbelievable.
“But we did it.”
Victoria came hard out of the blocks and with David Micheluzzi four under and 5-up through seven holes against Jack Sullivan, his eventual 5&4 victory gave the home team a vital buffer.
Thomas Power-Horan soon racked up his fifth win from six matches this week, dispatching the impressive Anthony Quayle 2&1 to add to the Vics’ comfort levels.
But then things tightened up as Queensland showed the spirit it used to topple New South Wales to reach the final.
Shae Wools-Cobb beat Andrew Schonewille 2&1 in the No.8 match and Blake Proverbs, the second of the unbeaten triumvirate, overcame Frazer Droop 2&1 after a rollercoaster ride throughout their tense match at No.5.
But in terms of “wow factor”, however, the top match between Ryan Ruffels and Brisbane’s Taylor Macdonald had it all.
Macdonald could scarcely have played better, bar for a couple of birdie putts sliding narrowly by.
When he conceded Ruffels a birdie on the par-3 15th from inside 30cm, Macdonald was himself five under the card.
But so imperious was Ruffels, who turned 17 on Wednesday, that that score was only good enough for a 5&3 defeat.
Ruffels almost holed out on both the 15th and 3rd (10cm) and was an extraordinary 10 under par when he walked off.
“I really didn’t want to let anyone down today,” said Ruffels, who was also a member of the winning boys’ team and won the individual national junior championship last month.
“So I was really excited to be able to do that – it was an important day for Victorian golf, because those four wins have never happened before and it’s great to play my part.”
Ruffels was 2-up early with birdies on the first and third, but gave one back when Macdonald almost aced the fifth, testament to the quality of the match.
Macdonald’s eagle putt on the seventh sat on the lip, but Ruffels made a miraculous up-and-down birdie to halve the hole and start a birdie blitz that incredibly lasted six straight holes as the Queenslander was left just shaking his head.
Senior squad rookie Brett Coletta fought a ripping match at No.3, which looked headed Queensland’s way when Jake McLeod led 1-up after 13 holes.
But the emerging Coletta dug deep to win three holes in a row when it mattered most for his 3&1 triumph, sealing the title for Victoria.
It didn’t, however, finish two stunning matches that, in the end, could not be split.
Eccles scrambled impeccably for a par up the last as he and Viitakangas ended square after each player led at stages of a tense match.
And then Cory Crawford had a chance to edge out Lucas Herbert in the No.2 match with a 4m putt on the last hole, but his birdie try slid by and the match was halved to seal the 5-3 final result and allow the party to begin in earnest.
In the consolation matches, New South Wales ensured it finished third with a hard-fought 4.5-3.5 win over Western Australia.
WA ace Jarryd Felton completed a superb week with a 3&2 win over Australian Amateur champion Cam Davis to remarkably remain unbeaten this week in the No.1 slot at an incredible collective 28 under par (estimated).
In the playoff for fifth, South Australia breezed past Tasmania 6-2 with Antonio Murdaca winning the top match against Greg Longmore 2&1.
Photo: Golf Australia
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