AN injury sustained while crabbing almost ended Matt Walz's Taree golf club championship defence this year.
"I broke my ribs,'' the 37-year-old said of a misadventure while chasing crabs in the Manning River.
"I went to the place I usually go and the embankment must have been weakened by the floods.''
The embankment gave way taking Walz with it, resulting in a couple of busted ribs. As a result he wasn't able to swing a club for six or so weeks leading into the club title.
"I didn't catch any crabs, either, so it was a bad day,'' he said.
Walz then recovered from an indifferent start to claim his sixth title and also the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week award. He's won a $50 voucher from Iguana.
While Walz wasn't inconvenienced by the ribs when the championship started, he thinks the lack of time on the course had a lot to do with his indifferent first round of 77. The opening two rounds were played on the one weekend and Walz came back into contention when he had a 73 on the second day.
However, he had a health issue there as well.
"I had my first COVID shot on the Saturday and I wasn't feeling too good on the Sunday. I had a splitting headache,'' he explained.
The third round was the most pivotal. Here Walz fired a 69.
"I went from five behind to two in front,'' he said.
"I putted and chipped really well.''
He led by two going into last weekend and finished with a 74. He was even par after the first nine.
"I birdied the 10th then had four bogies in a row. But then I birdied the next and that sort of settled it,'' Walz said.
He finished three clear of Peter Doherty.
"It was a good day, we had a good group - competitive, that's how you want it, but it was really enjoyable,'' he said.
Walz is coached by Nathan Green in Newcastle and he had a couple of chats with him during the championship. He said the two enjoy a great rapport.
"He told me that if I have to keep going down to Newcastle for coaching, then it's not working. So I keep in contact with him and maybe go down there every three months. But I haven't been able to do that because of COVID,'' he explained.
He has been included in the Lower North Coast association team for the Country Championships scheduled for November, but he said that's unlikely to proceed.
Walz received a pleasant surprise when he received the trophy at the presentation on Saturday night.
"I thought I'd won it five times, but my name was already there five times,'' he explained.
So Walz will set himself to win number seven in 2022. However, he won't go crabbing anytime too close to next year's championship,