Sam Forrester in action. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Sam Forrester was “pretty chuffed” at winning the Trust House Wairarapa Open golf title over the weekend.
The 31-year-old Forrester has won the Masterton Golf Club’s senior men’s championship on five occasions but has never gone better than third in the Wairarapa Open.
“It’s a tournament I’ve always wanted to win so it was nice to finally make it,” Forrester said on Tuesday. “I’ve been close a couple of times but never quite got there.”
A scratch handicapper who has bounced back from a serious health scare in 2011, Forrester set the early pace in the 54-hole tournament in which two rounds were played on the Saturday and one on Sunday.
A first round 70 gave him a two-stroke lead and he still had the advantage at the top of the scoreboard when he shot 73 in the second round for a 36-hole total of 143.
Heading the chasing bunch then were ex-Wairarapa player Elton Nicholson from Boulcott Farm on 145 and highly-regarded Jonathan Cane from Manor Park on 146.
For Forrester, the early emphasis in the third round had to be on consistency but he was immediately on the backfoot, bogeying the first hole and giving up his lead as his closest rivals scored birdies.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but I struggled a bit early on Sunday,” Forrester said.
“I hit a few ordinary shots but managed to hang in there long enough for things to start falling into place again.”
Coming into the last three holes, it was still very much anybody’s game and with his brother Jack, a member of the Wairarapa senior men’s cricket squad, on the bag, Forrester produced some of his best golf when it mattered most — birdie at the 16th, par at the 17th and birdie at the 18th to finish on 215, just one shot better than Cane and two ahead of Nicholson
Reflecting on his performance Forrester said it was his putting which largely laid the foundations for victory, which came as something of a surprise to himself as it has never been the strongest area of his game.
“I made some really good putts over the three days and that was probably the difference between winning and losing in the end,” he said.
Forrester will now turn his attention to helping his Masterton team claim a top-four place in the premier Wellington interclub competition, the Otaki Cup.
Currently third with two rounds to be played, they are aiming to beat Miramar on Saturday to keep themselves in contention.