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Golfing patience a winning virtue for Pete

LAST year a moment of brilliance denied Peter Kerekere his first King of the Coast men’s open title. Last weekend something far less dramatic won it for him — patience.

Kerekere completed the second leg of Poverty Bay-East Coast golf’s “Triple Crown” with a 1-up win over Tony Akroyd at the Tolaga Bay course on Sunday.

He added KotC success to his maiden victory at the region’s most prestigious men’s tournament — the Poverty Bay open — last year.

All he requires now is the East Coast Open to become one of a special group of players to have collected KotC, Poverty Bay and East Coast titles in their careers.

The KotC was a teeth-gritting test of his resolve. He trailed in all four matches but kept his cool, worked his way back and maintained his composure when it came to the pressure end.

“Patience was definitely the key,” said the 27-year-old Gisborne postman and Poverty Bay Golf Club member.

“I kept telling myselt to be patient and not to force anything — wait for them to make the mistakes. And it all worked out.”

Kerekere, the No.1 seed, almost fell at the first hurdle. Veteran left-hander Tene Goldsmith (Poverty Bay) led him 2-up after the first nine holes of their round 1 match. Kerekere pulled back the deficit and won on the first extra hole where Goldsmith “had a bit of a ’mare”.

“Tene was bombing putts from all over the place and I couldn’t make anything, but I stayed patient.”

A couple down to HighamKerekere was a couple down to Andrew Higham (Te Puia Springs) as well in their quarterfinal clash but picked up a series of wins and held on to a slender advantage to get home on the 18th.

The semifinal against home-course player Dion Milner was a similar story.

“Same again, I was trailing most of the way but managed to pull it back.”

Kerekere got to 1-up then won the 15th and 16th holes for a 3 and 2 win.

The comeback theme continued in the final against Akroyd, who was looking to add the KotC title to his recent King of the Country series success.

Kerekere was 3-down after seven holes and 2-down after 10 but, with a little help from Akroyd, proceeded to win the 11th, 12th and 13th holes.

He retained his 1-up advantage to the 18th to make it third time lucky in a KotC final.

His past two final appearances were memorable for different reasons.

In 2007, he lost 1-down to Simon Jenkins in weather conditions described as the worst in the tournament’s long history.

Last year, Nathaniel Cassidy (Tokoroa/Tolaga Bay) sank a wedge for eagle-2 on the 20th hole to deny Kerekere again.

Cassidy’s defence was ended in the quarterfinals by Akroyd, who beat Tere Lincoln (Tolaga Bay) in the first round and Wi Brown (Waikohu) 3 and 2 in the semis.

Kerekere and several of the KotC contenders are back in matchplay action this weekend when PBEC take on Hawke’s Bay in a senior, junior, masters and women’s fixture at Poverty Bay.

The Poverty Bay Open and national interprovincial are his major focuses, but at the back of his mind is next year’s East Coast Open and the prospect of completing “the Triple”.

“That’s something I definitely want to tick off the list.”

Poverty Bay-East Coast host Hawke’s Bay in a matchplay fixture at the Poverty Bay course on Sunday.

The PBEC team, comprising senior, masters (over-40s) and junior players are — Peter Kerekere, William Brown, Andrew Higham, Nathaniel Cassidy, Kurtis Cortesi, Tini Hawea, Keanau Howe, Simon Jeune, Anaru Reedy, Peter Anderson, Collin Jeffrey, Regan Hindmarsh, Wade Wesche, David Situ, Dean Pohatu, Clay Wesche and Reef Pohatu.

A four-strong women’s team is also expected to play.

a new reign: Peter Kerekere won his first King of the Coast men’s open title at Tolaga Bay on Sunday. The Gisborne postman beat Tony Akroyd in the final. Picture by Paul Rickard
Kerekere with the trophy and a golf bag with King of the Coast 2016 written on it. Kerekere completed the obligatory filling and drinking out of the trophy. Picture supplied