Jarryd Dillas clinched the Bermuda Amateur Match Play Championship title for a fourth successive year and record eighth time overall, before revealing his latest success is just as memorable as his first.
Having narrowly scraped past Will Haddrell in the semi-finals yesterday morning, Dillas returned to the Port Royal course in the afternoon and endured an epic final against Damian Palanyandi, eventually prevailing after a second additional hole, holding his nerve to sink an 18 foot birdie to finally overcome his rival and retain his crown.
While winning the title has almost become an annual custom for the 34-year-old , he conceded his latest defence may rank as the most satisfactory having been 4 down after seven holes before completing the turnaround, while also paying tribute to a familiar foe in Palanyandi.
“I’m just delighted to win the title again,” he said. “I’ve now won it eight times but this ranks right up there after having to come back from the deficit I was facing, it was definitely the hardest final I’ve had.
“Every year is obviously different but each title definitely feels as special as before. At the start of the week that excitement isn’t quite there but by the end the nerves and excitement certainly are there.
“I’ve had to play some really good golf and beat two really strong players on the same day and so I take great satisfaction from that.
“Damian is a brilliant player and I think he definitely brings the best out of me and I probably do the same for him.
“It’s easier to hit good shots when you see your opponent hitting good shots. I think we fed off each other and while I’m delighted to win, I would have been equally disappointed to lose in that way.
“It was one of those finals where no one really deserved to lose.”
The fine margin of victory was no more evident than in the final as Palanyandi not only found himself ahead after the turn but also agonisingly missed putts to snatch the title on the additional 19th and 20th holes, before Dillas ultimately prevailed.
“He definitely had a chance on both holes and narrowly missed on the final hole,” Dillas added. “My final shot from basically the exact same spot and luckily it went in.
“We also have good matches against one another and it definitely made for an exciting final.”
While it proved a finale Dillas could relish in, he admitted it could have been a completely different outcome had he not kept his composure to recover from the daunting deficit.
“After an ugly semi-final to then find myself 4 down after seven holes in the final, it could have definitely got away from me,” said Dillas who cited his recent appearance in the inaugural PGA Tour Bermuda Championship at the same course as a huge benefit in the turnaround.
“I had to take it a hole at a time and set myself little targets. Thankfully I managed to stay consistent from the eighth hole onwards and played some great golf.
“I don’t get the chance to play at Port Royal too often these days so playing in the Bermuda Championship definitely helped. It gaver me a feel for the course and allowed me to feel comfortable, particularly in the later holes when it mattered most.”
In the Ladies Championship Division, Kathy Lloyd-Hines took the title after beating Linda Down, while the Senior Men’s Championship was won by Terry Mullan who overcame Barry Brewer.