10 June, 2021
Tripcony makes triumphant return to Woodford golf
The men’s division of the Woodford Golf Club Schweppes Club Championships proved to be a tight battle to the very end, with Jarratt Tripcony winning the title for the first time.
It was a memorable return for Tripcony following a 10-year break from golf, while Dan Sheehan’s run of four successive titles came to an end.
Tripcony finished a mere two shots ahead of runner-up Chris Huet, as the men’s division took place each Saturday from May 1 to 22.
“I set some goals on paper at Christmas, with one of them being to start back up golf and win the club championships,” Tripcony said.
“I knew it was a long shot but I knuckled down and tried to get on the course twice a week.”
Having been the junior champion for a few years, Tripcony wanted to become club champion but he had some personal struggles after his parents divorced.
Tripcony lived with his grandmother Alwyn, who was a long-time Woodford Golf Club member until she passed away in 2011.
“She was the only one pushing me to keep playing, and once she was gone I soon lost my passion for the game,” Tripcony said.
Fast-forward 10 years, and Tripcony has had much happier times with a supportive girlfriend and two children.
As for returning to golf, Tripcony said he had a mate nagging him to get out on the course and have a hit.
“So I dusted the 15-year-old clubs off, and it felt better than ever,” Tripcony said.
“Playing a few comps and getting back into it always comes with criticism from a few.
“I remember the first comp back I was three over through three.
“This old fella I was playing with goes, ‘Face it mate, you can’t hit it like you used to’.
“It was like fuel to my fire. I’d love to run into him now for a chat.”
Tripcony knew that the championships would be tough, with Sheehan chasing a fifth consecutive win while Huet sought to regain the title he won seven times from 2004 to 2016, including a hat-trick from 2014 to 2016.
Tripcony said Huet was someone he had looked up to, as Huet worked in the pro shop during Tripcony’s younger days.
On the first day of the championships which contained rain and wind, Tripcony shot a par round but was gobsmacked to find Sheehan had shot six-under.
“Mentally preparing for the second round was huge,” Tripcony said.
“All week I told myself six-under and I’ll be back in it.”
Sure enough, Tripcony was draining 20-foot putts everywhere while the others in his group shook their heads, and his score of 66 on day two enabled him to draw level with Sheehan while Huet was five behind.
Day three was a hard grind for Tripcony who thought he might fall behind, only to find that Sheehan had also struggled.
“Coming into the fourth and final round with a three-shot lead was a real mental game,” Tripcony said.
Tripcony knew that he had to keep his cool and play the day out safe, but Sheehan quickly made headway and after five holes it was all squared up.
Teeing up on seven, Tripcony played the waiting game and let the others hit before choosing a club.
Sheehan grabbed the driver which Tripcony considered “a big call”, which worked in Tripcony’s favour as Sheehan put one out of bounds on the left.
Tripcony quickly grabbed an iron out, then sent the ball up the fairway and gained a three-shot lead, again heading down eight.
After the turn, Tripcony had four up on Sheehan and three on Huet, and finally the nerves started to fade.
“(But with) Chris still high on my toes, it wasn’t until hole 15 I pushed one into the bush down the right and ended up stiff under a baby black boy tree,” Tripcony recalled, before saying that somehow he still held a three-shot lead.
Describing the second-last hole, Tripcony said: “Chris stumped a ripper of a shot one metre from the flag, and all I wanted to do was hit the green and get my par to head to the last with a two-shot advantage.”
As for the 18th and final hole, Tripcony connected well and put one just before the bunker, with a small pitch over the bunker and making his par, while Huet also made par.
“Putting out and having my brother and father watching was something I’ll remember,” Tripcony said.
“This one was for the kids and my grandmother.
“As for the 15-year-old clubs, it might be time for an upgrade.”
Meanwhile the other men’s winners were Dave Parker (B Grade), Derek Richards (C Grade) and Steve Collyer (Senior Champion).