GOLF - GOLFERS wear concrete shoes.
Experience has taught every fairway-plodder that this is a sport where every now and then you can defy gravity, but it is advisable to return feet to mother Earth as soon as possible.
Choose not to and golf has a merciless habit of doing it for you. At speed.
Which is why Poverty Bay-East Coast’s top men’s players justifiably celebrated their feat before retying concrete laces following their third placing at the Central North Island interprovincial quadrangular on the Centennial course.
Team “veteran” Tony Akroyd cannot recall PBEC ever having finished better than fourth and last in his many Taupo quads. That’s why he probably wore the biggest smile out of all eight team members when PBEC defeated Taranaki 4½-3½ on Sunday morning to hand over the wooden spoon.
Akroyd, at No.4 in the senior men’s side, played his part with a 5 and 3 win against Thomas Hill. There were scalps also for No.3 William Brown (3 and 2), No.6 Shayde Skudder (2 and 1) and No.7 Ruel Pedersen (1-up).
No.5 Matt Mackey sealed the team win when he won the 17th hole to go 1-up with one to play although he had to settle for an individual half as his opponent rammed in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
It denied Mackey a second consecutive perfect record. After winning all three of his matches at an interprovincial quadrangular at Hamilton in August, Mackey added another 2½ wins to extend his run to 5½ out of a possible six.
But for a couple of glitches, PBEC could well have placed even higher at a tournament where for many years they were regarded as certain-beats.
PBEC lost both their Saturday matches 5-3, first against overall winners Bay of Plenty and then against Manawatu-Wanganui.
The BoP loss was equivalent to a record-breaking marlin that dropped the hook when alongside the boat.
No.1 Steve Donnelly, all-square with Brad Kendall playing the 17th, hit the wrong ball, lost the hole and was beaten 1-down. Brown was up all the way against Victor Janin, only for the BoP man to make a birdie charge home to snatch a 1-up win.
Pedersen had a PBEC debut to remember.
The Mangakino man, who attends the Waiariki Academy of Sport with Brown, won all three of his matches at No.7 in his first time wearing PBEC colours since swapping provinces after losing to good mate Brown in the final of the Poverty Bay Open this month.
He was five under the card in one of his wins and his victims included Srixon New Zealand development squad member Tyler Hodge.
The three-from-three has all but sealed Pedersen a place in the six-man PBEC team to compete at the national interprovincial in Dunedin from December 4 to 8.
Selector Walter Mackey is expected to announce the team this week.
One of the first names on the list will be Andrew Higham, whose memorable year continued with two wins and a 1-down loss at Taupo. His wins included a 2 and 1 triumph over BoP’s Landyn Edwards . . . Gisborne golfers will remember him for his 2011 Poverty Bay Open-winning exploits.
Skudder’s single victory was a vital one, while No.8 Eddie Brown was competitive without success in only his second taste of representative competition.
Walter Mackey said the Taupo result had given the team even more belief in themselves.
The fact they were elated but a little disappointed not to have done even better reflects a growing level of expectation that in Dunedin they could produce one of PBEC’s best results.
The PBEC four-man junior team lost all three of their ties. No.1 Quentin Carmichael’s half against Manawatu-Wanganui was their only reward, although they did push Taranaki, with three of the matches going to the 17th or 18th.
SENIORS — Poverty Bay-East Coast 3 Bay of Plenty 5 (PBEC names first): Edward Brown junior lost to Cam Neal 4 and 3, Ruel Pedersen def Ben Shanley 5 and 4, Shayde Skudder lost to William Howard 3 and 2, Matthew Mackey def Craig Hamilton 2 and 1, Tony Akroyd lost to Sam Davis 4 and 3, William Brown lost to Victor Janin 1-down, Andrew Higham def Landyn Edwards 2 and 1, Steve Donnelly lost to Brad Kendall 1-down.
PBEC 3 Manawatu-Wanganui 5: E Brown lost to Rhys Harold 4 and 2, Pedersen def Tyler Hodge 4 and 3, Skudder lost to Tyler Lock 7 and 5, Mackey def Willie Steer 3 and 2, Akroyd lost to Ewan Westergaard 3 and 2, W Brown lost to Hayden Rinig 2 and 1, Higham def Lachie McDonald 2 and 1, Donnelly lost to Josh Munn 8 and 6.
PBEC 4½ Taranaki 3½: E Brown lost to Brook Gray 4 and 3, Pedersen def Joseph Doyle 1-up, Skudder def Zac Lewis 2 and 1, Mackey halved with Jamie Reid, Akroyd def Thomas Hill 5 and 3, W Brown def Tim White 3 and 2, Higham lost to Tyla Otene 1-down, Donnelly lost to Brad Hayward 2 and 1.
Overall points: BoP 6 (18 individual wins), Manawatu Wanganui 4 (13), PBEC 2 (10½), Taranaki 0 (6½).
JUNIORS — PBEC 0 BoP 4: Tini Hawea lost 5 and 4, Jeremy Tucker lost 6 and 4, Tom Needham lost 6 and 5, Quentin Carmichael lost 5 and 4.
PBEC 0 Manawatu Wanganui 4: Hawea lost 8 and 7, Tucker lost 7 and 6, Needham lost 6 and 5, Carmichael halved. PBEC 0 Taranaki 4: Hawea lost 4 and 3, Tucker lost 2 and 1, Needham lost 3 and 1, Carmichael lost 1-down.
Overall points: BoP 6 (9½), Manawatu-Wanganui 4 (8), Taranaki 2 (6) PBEC 0 (½).