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Hodge deprives Dillas of high five

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Jarryd Dillas's four-year reign as champion of the Bermuda Amateur Match Play Championships ended yesterday on his home course at Mid Ocean Club when clubmate Ben Hodge beat him in the semi-final to set up a meeting with Fraser Hunt in today's final.

There will also be a new champion crowned in the women's division after Ann Symonds was beaten in the quarter-finals 3 and 2 by Linda Down, last year's finalist, who had a second win yesterday to reach the final, where she will play Ebonie Burgess.

Hodge, who moved to Bermuda from Des Moines, Iowa, in October 2011, is making his belated debut in the championship. He was in a confident mood after beating Walker Campbell 6 and 5 in the morning's quarter-finals and produced another good round in the afternoon to dispose of Dillas and reach his first final.

“It's always a daunting task when you get the defending champion and Jarryd has proven his game is good,” Hodge said. “There were tough conditions out there today and he wasn't at his best. I just kept the ball in front of me and tried not to overdo it.

“Jarryd and I play a lot of golf together; we know each other's game pretty well. The short game is always important in these types of events. I kept the putter rolling well and was able to get up-and-down when I needed to.”

Hunt stands between Hodge and a first title, after reaching the final with a comfortable 8 and 6 win over Sergio Edness in the quarter-final before pushing back Joshua Cabrera 5 and 3 in the semi-final.

“Fraser and I play together, both being Mid Ocean members,” Hodge said. “It's 36 holes out there, a long day and you can't get too beat down. We know there's going to be holes you are going lose and holes you are going to win. I know Fraser has the game to play well.

“I'll see what the weather conditions are, but not worry about it too much. Par is not a bad score in match play. It'll be a fun day, a big challenge and hopefully at the end of the day I'll be victorious. I'm looking forward to it.”

Down is hoping this could be her year, too, after losing in previous finals. She was particularly pleased with her performance in the semi-final. “I really came into my game this afternoon [against Katrin Burnie] and played the best round I've played in a long time when I had a couple of amazing shots,” Down said. “I finished it up with a great shot on 17 two feet from the hole for my birdie to close the deal 2 and 1.

“I settled into my game nicely this afternoon and had a really good back nine after being three down at the turn. Golf is a six-inch game and I was feeling a little down with myself. I had a couple of conversations with myself and turned it around. I was one up on 15 and on 17, I closed it.”

Down expects another tough match today against Burgess in the final. “Ebonie is going to be a challenge, but I had her in the semi-final last year and beat her on the 18th hole, so I know it's possible,” Down said.

“It's match play and anything can happen. She was watching Katrin and I on the 16th and I said, ‘I'm really tired' and she said, ‘Me too' and I said, ‘Well, you're a third of my age.'”

Burgess beat Tracy Nash 4 and 2 in the quarter-finals before getting past Carol Jones 6 and 5 to reach the final.

In today's senior final, Craig Christensen plays Max Atherden over 18 holes after 2 and 1 and 6 and 5 victories over John Brough and Kavon Trott respectively in the semi-finals.

Today's forecast calls for 45 knot winds with rain, so organisers will make an early decision on any possible changes to the start times.

Ben Hodge is favourite in today's final after seeing off Jarryd Dillas, the four-times defending champion, yesterday (photo by Glenn Tucker)
Jarryd Dillas had his run ended by his Mid Ocean Club colleague (photo by Glenn Tucker)
Linda Down hopes to go one better in this year's women's final (photo by Glenn Tucker)
Ebonie Burgess faces Linda Down in the women's final

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Published March 08, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 08, 2014 at 8:34 pm)

Hodge deprives Dillas of high five

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