IF you asked new Camperdown Golf Club A grade champion Troy Stephens which hand he is better with, his answer would be both.
The first time winner is one of the more unique golfers within the club, playing right-handed, however he putts left-handed.
The unorthodox approach certainly hasn’t affected his ability to play the game, with Stephens playing off a handicap of seven.
He entered the final round of the championships on Sunday tied for the lead with Tom Moran, with the pair unable to be split across the first three rounds.
They remained even through the first few holes, before Stephens birdied holes six, seven and eight to take the lead.
Stephens maintained his lead across the back nine, finishing with a birdie on the 18th for a final round 73 to win by five shots ahead of Moran.
Stephens was modest when it came to explaining how it was that he ended up champion, believing a mixture of luck and consistency delivered him the win.
“A bit of luck and probably consistent golf,” he said.
“I had four good rounds and I got over the line.
“It feels pretty good. I never thought I’d be club champion.”
Stephens credited his final round score to his playing partners, saying that he benefited from being around them.
“Having good golfers around you in the group today made me concentrate more and really knuckle down a bit,” Stephens said.
Stephens opened the championships with a 75, before following with a second round 79 in extremely windy conditions.
It was a round that forced him to adapt, but he said he was ‘proud’ that he still managed a good score despite the weather.
“They were probably the worst conditions that wind last Sunday that I’ve ever played in,” Stephens said.
“You probably wouldn’t play if we didn’t have to, but I think it made me concentrate even more.
“You have to adapt to what conditions get thrown at you I suppose.”
He followed up with a 75 again in the third round on Saturday, before closing with a fourth round 73, finishing with a score of 306.
He reflected on his younger days after the win, including first playing as a left-hander before almost completely changing his game when he first started playing regularly.
That change came on the back of advice from fellow members Liam Lafferty and Paul Stephens and it was advice, that for the most part, taken onboard.
“Growing up, Dad had left-handed sticks because he used to play left-handed, so that was all I ever used,” Stephens said.
“I played the odd ambrose with blokes like Laff and Paul Stephens, who are right-handed, and they said if you’re ever going to play, get right-handed sticks.
“So I did when I first got sticks but I’ve only ever tried putting right-handed once because I feel more comfortable putting left-handed.”
Stephens also took out the Talindert Cup, awarded for the lowest round across the championships and the Jack Hay Cup, for the best nett score across the four championship rounds.
In B grade, Mick Hassett claimed his second club championship, winning by six shots from David Absalom.
Hassett ended Bernie Sinnott’s chances of a fourth consecutive championship and remarkably the pair has won the last five titles between them.
“This is the second time (I’ve won). I won three years ago I think, before Bernie Sinnott won the first of his three (in a row),” Hassett said.
Hassett won his first title in 2013, but Sunday’s round proved more challenging for the left-hander to deal with.
“This was a bit more stressful,” he said.
“This one is pretty good because I was a fair bit in front in the first one I won, but this one was a bit closer being equal with Mark Kent.”
Hassett shot a final round 82 for a score of 337 overall, with a third round 80 his best round.
“Yesterday (third round) was probably my best round, I had an 80 off the stick, and I had an 82 today (Sunday) which was good,” Hassett said.
“Sunday (second round) was real hard, that was my worst day. I didn’t hit the ball too bad; I just didn’t have a good score.”
Hassett’s final round get out to a six shot lead, and trying to avoid trouble where possible whilst protecting his lead.
“I had 42 shots up the top and I was only four over down the bottom, so I was pretty steady, I just didn’t get into trouble,” Hassett said.
Absalom and Mark Kent finished tied for second, however a countback on the final round was held to determine outright second, which went Absalom’s way after he shot an 82 to Kent’s 88.
In C grade, Neville Swayn won by 15 shots, ahead of Jeff Collins.
Swayn said he was happy to win, having only come to the game of golf recently.
“It’s a nice feeling having not played golf for that long, I’ve just sort of started, so it’s a nice little reward,” he said.
Swayn shot a final round 95, and admitted that early nerves got the better of him, before he was able to recover and finish out his round.
“My round started pretty slow, I was a little bit toey at the start, so the first four or five holes weren’t great,” Swayn said.
“I lipped a few putts out but from the sixth onwards I settled a little bit and it wasn’t too bad after that.
“I didn’t get into a lot of trouble, just probably tried to concentrate on getting bogeys and I thought I’d be pretty safe.”
He too struggled in the windy conditions in the second round, with scores of 89, 102, 92 and 95 giving Swayn an overall score of 378.
“I had a bad day on the Sunday (second round), I went okay on the Saturday (first round), I had an 89 but I had a bad day on the Sunday, I had 102,” he said
“Yesterday (third round) was okay and today (Sunday) was steady.
“I had a few pars but birdies are a rarity.”
Club captain Rick Bailey was full of praise for those that volunteered their time to have the course ready for play as well as congratulating the championship field.
“A big thanks to everyone that has helped prepare the course for the two weekends of championships and the tournament this weekend,” Bailey said.
“Also congratulations to the winners and runners-up in the championships and well done to the rest of the field that competed across the four rounds.”
Meanwhile, Camperdown Golf Club’s three day tournament kicks off today with the men’s and women’s four ball.
Over 40 ladies pairs have entered for the day, with tee-offs from 9:30am, 10:30am and 12:30pm.
Tomorrow will be men’s stroke with tee-off from 12.30pm and Sunday will be mixed Pinehurst, starting at 11.30am.
A grade: Troy Stephens 75-79-79-73 (306), Tom Moran 75-79-79-78 (311).
B grade: Mick Hassett 85-90-80-82 (337), David Absalom 87-85-89-82 (343).
C grade: Neville Swayn 89-102-92-95 (378), Jeff Collins 99-98-98-97 (392).
Jack Hay Cup – Troy Stephens nett score 278; Talindert Cup – Troy Stephens 73 (fourth round).