Eggo digs deep to hold onto Senior Men's Island title

THE champion retained his crown, but, boy, Bobby Eggo had to battle hard to do so yesterday.

Andrew Boyd had not read the script that others had already written, which had the defending champion and red-hot favourite Eggo clinching another title in the convincing fashion that the difference in their handicaps – a whopping 10 shots – would suggest he should in an 18-hole match played off scratch.

Instead, underdog Boyd rose to the occasion impressively on his home course at La Grande Mare and scrapped for every hole, never allowing Eggo to ever feel like he was truly in control and taking him all the way to the last before he finally had to concede defeat at the end of an absorbing contest.

It had all started so ominously for Boyd, too.

Despite showing no signs of nerves in playing the first hole solidly from tee to green before lagging his opening putt up to hole-side for a composed par, Boyd could only watch as Eggo nonchantly rolled in a 14ft birdie putt to take an early lead.

Boyd did not let his head drop from that initial blow and his riposte was to land one himself at the second as he brilliantly chipped in for birdie to get back to all-square immediately.

Eggo’s reply at the third was to go close to a hole in one as he regained the lead and he looked in good shape to double it at the next where Boyd found himself up near a tree to the left of the fairway in two on the par five.

There was another twist to come, though, and having done well to cling onto the putting surface with his third, Boyd judged the tough downhill, cross-slope putt to perfection to make birdie and level things up once more.

After four holes, the better ball score was three-under-par gross and it would have been asking a lot for the golf to remain of such a high standard, but the next couple of holes were halved in well-constructed pars to keep the score all-square.

It was only when one errant tee shot from Boyd on the par-four seventh gave Eggo an opening that he really made a significant move by winning that hole and two of the next three – the ninth conceded with his opponent in the douit and the 10th with a fine birdie two – to go 3 up with eight to play.

But just when momentum appeared to be with the champion, Boyd came up with another big putt on the 11th – this time for par with both players having missed the green to the right – to reduce his deficit.

Andrew Boyd put up an impressive show in the final after overcoming Nigel Vaudin in the semis. (29776357)

The gap remained at two for the next three holes which meant time was starting to run out for Boyd, who was agonisingly half-a-roll short with his birdie attempt on the 14th.

An uncharacteristic error off the 15th tee from Eggo gifted his opponent that hole, though, and a delightful chip from the back of the 16th helped the home player save par to halve that one.

Both then hit tee shots to forget at the tough par-three 17th and neither was on the green in two, but it was then that Eggo moved up a gear.

From the left-hand bunker, the champion splashed out and, as he urged his ball to ‘get in’, he hit the pin for a guaranteed four that ensured he led going to the 18th tee.

Although his traditional draw took his drive into the rough at the par five, he was still in decent shape to be able to lay up beyond the second douit and his wedge approach was a peach to within 8ft.

The gallant Boyd gave his long birdie putt a run at the hole, but when it drifted by he negated the need for his opponent to putt by congratulating Eggo on his victory.

‘That was a tough day – I was a bit relieved to see that third shot go in fairly close at the last,’ said Eggo.

‘I have played pretty well [in the championship] – there were a few patches on the back nine today when it was a bit scrappy, but it’s generally been pretty good.

‘I have been playing a bit more recently and it reflects in the scores.’

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