Perfectly timed on Sunday 7th October, before the weather turned British, a sun soaked afternoon and on a course in perfect condition, the juniors of Santa Maria contested their club championship. Fighting for the scratch prize, The Terry Wills Trophy, it was a photo finish, like last year to decide the champion.
On the 16th tee stood David Schneider Jerez, 1 under par to the card and knowing he is sitting in prime position to collect some silverware. However, golf is never that simple. Bogey at 16, par at 17 and he’s level with one to play. A great drive and superb second shot to the last set up an 18 foot putt for birdie. The blood rushed and 3 putts later he signed for a 1 over par 71, head dropped and knowing it could be a wasted opportunity, all he could do is wait.
Coming behind was Fermín Palma Iri, who has tasted this success in 2016 and back to full fitness after knee surgery made him miss the first part of 2018. He finished with a par, which gave him a 1 over total as well. Rocco Repetto, who last year lost a playoff to a birdie, finished one shot behind at 72, frustratingly having to wait another year to get his hands on the trophy. Back to the first tee for extra time.
For those of you who don’t know the Santa Maria course, the first tee sits directly under the bar. It’s only a short par 4 (for these guys) but you can see more water than fairway, a good test of concentration, especially when half the club is watching. Needless to say, youngsters are much tougher these days. Two Drivers came out of the bag and two balls hit the fairway.
David had the better angle though. Fermin’s drive a little too far to the right left a delicate pitch of about 70m with the ball severely above his feet. It looked good in the air but came up about 40 feet short of the hole leaving an outside chance for birdie. David, slightly closer, about 50m away placed the ball 15 feet right and pin high, a good chance to capitalise on the situation. A chance that he ceased this time, making up for the mistake 20 minutes earlier and a redemption showing strength of mind in abundance. After roar from the crowd, a fist pump and a warm embrace with Fermín, David, now stood tall with head up and was the 2018 Junior Club Champion.
As is tradition at the club, the presentation is together with the adults at the gala dinner in the evening and we have to congratulate him, not only with his play but with the speech he made in front of everyone upon receiving the trophy from Chrissie Wills.