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A record that may never be broken — Skuse

TWO Barns-Graham Cup men’s pairs final victories, both on extra holes and accomplished 36 years apart.

Bill Allen believes it’s a record “I don’t think will ever be broken” after he and Roy Skuse won the 2016 edition of Poverty Bay Golf Club’s illustrious BG trophy on Sunday.

Allen and Skuse defeated Kim Gunness and Blair Tannahill on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after over 5½ hours.

It emulated their 1980 Barns-Graham Cup triumph when they beat Terry Outten and Terry McGaffin on the 20th.

Sunday’s performance completed a double that earned its own chapter in Poverty Bay’s 123-year history.

Skuse and Allen first combined forces in this particular club competition in 1972 after Allen shifted to Gisborne from Te Araroa.

Allen said “as far as I can recall” they had played together in every Barns-Graham Cup, bar one, since.

“And Roy won the Bryan Cup (subsidiary pairs) when I wasn’t here for that year.”

Sunday’s final had plenty of drama, which ended with Skuse making a par on the par-5 19th (first hole) for victory and Gunness going to hospital after struggling with illness throughout the match.

It was also a busy final for referee Duncan Bush, who had to make several rulings.

Carried on with no penaltyTwo of these came on the 14th hole. Players had been told that with a six-inch clean and place, they had to mark their ball before placing it. Allen forgot to do this on 14 and called it on himself, but after a discussion with Bush, he was allowed to carry on without penalty.

On the same hole, Tannahill putted in from off the green for par but in picking his ball out of the hole, it was not clear whether the ball was sitting beneath the “circumference” of the hole — which is required for it to be deemed holed.

More discussion ended in Bush ruling in Tannahill’s favour.

Gunness, after a couple of uncharacteristic putting lapse on the front nine, came good at the business end. At 2-down playing the 16th he holed a 40-foot monster, with break Allen estimated to be “about 10-feet”, for a par and the win.

He then up-and-downed from about 80 metres on the 18th for par — sinking a 10-foot putt — to win the hole and to send it to sudden-death.

The drama continued. Allen again failed to mark his ball after his second shot, again called it on himself and this time was penalised a shot. He proceeded to hit a superb fourth shot from well out, his ball ending up about 10-feet from the hole.

A 20-metre birdieAllen negated that by three-putting but a cool-headed Skuse knocked a 20-metre birdie putt to within two metres then holed his par effort for a memorable victory.

There was touch of irony to it. Allen can’t remember a lot about their 1980 final but recollects that Skuse lost a ball up a tree on the 19th, and that he (Allen) made par on 20 for the win.

It was fitting Bush played his part in the historic second win. He won the BG Cup in 1977 with Bruce Carey, then repeated the feat with Colin Christie 35 years later.

Bush and the 2016 winners were among a small group of 1980 participants who competed this year, including Arthur Bacon, who top qualified (with Roy Huxtable) in 1980 and was eliminated by Skuse and Allen in the quarterfinals.

As for coming back next year for another tilt, Allen was adamant: “too right we will”.

Golf Barns-Graham Winners - Bill Allen, Roy Skuse