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Len Stephens was ecstatic when he putted a five footer in the Southland Amateur Golf championshps at Otatara. He threw his arms in the air at the eighteenth when his putt dropped. It was a most fitting end to a very successful tournament.
There was a large crowd gathered to watch under watery skies with the sun trying hard to shine. The crowd followed the fortunes of Stephens and his opposite, Kevin Downie, who had a round of 78 and Stephens 79.
There was little in the match with only 1 between them and if Downie could have putted a bit more precisely it would have been him taking the title. Unfortunately, Downie from the Queens Park Club never looked comfortable at the greens and looked to be jabbing at the ball. Stephens on the other hand was stroking through the ball which was the difference.
Stephens started well and with some good drives and putting, sinking a eight foot putt on the first which gave him a birdie. On the second hole Stephens ended up in the trees and failed to clear over them so Downie caught up and they were even.
Both missed a good opportunity at No. 3 - The Schoolhouse where they both on the green with their tee shots but they duffed with having to three putt. It was here that Downie made his first mistake with missing a two footer for a win.
The fifth and sixth were halved in fours but at the latter Stephens had to drop a 45 foot putt to win. He repeated this with a 20 footer at the "Elbow" but Downie who had played a lovely second to the heart of the green, holed his putt for a birdie 3, to go into the lead for the first time.
The eight was played badly by both players and was halved in sixes and Stephens squared the match at the turn when Downie for the second time , three putted and carded a five.
A great tee shot from Stephens at 10, overshot the green and finished up in the car park. He played a three from the tee but could not match his opposites par 4, and became 1 down for the second time.
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