Two new kids on the block,Akroyd and Andreassen to be ‘rookie masters’
LONG-time Poverty Bay-East Coast representative Tony Akroyd will wear an unfamiliar tag when he tees off as one of the new kids on the Freyberg Masters block at Auckland’s Whitford Park golf course next week.
The 39-year-old will fall into the oxymoron-like category of “rookie master” in his first taste of the over-40s men’s interprovincial matchplay tournament.
He will be joined in that club by PBEC teammate Stefan Andreassen, who, despite being significantly older than Akroyd, defines the “rookie master” term more accurately.
Former Bay of Plenty teacher Andreassen will be competing in his first interprovincial.
In contrast, Akroyd has nearly 20 years of provincial experience under his belt.
That should hold him in good stead and could well be converted to success at No.2 in a five-man team looking to lift themselves off the 15th and bottom rung of the ladder.
PBEC managed a team win last year — defeating Manawatu-Wanganui three matches to two — but still ended up at the foot of the table.
Three of that side are back — Anaru Reedy at No.1, Pete Anderson at No.3 and Simon Jeune at No.4.
Andreassen is at No.5 and Auckland-based former Poverty Bay-East Coast rep Dave Solomann is reserve.
Solomann will definitely play one match as Jeune will be away for one of the ties.
Reedy goes in on the back of some scintillating form on his home track, including a personal best 7-under 65.
The former national Maori champion showed last year he can foot it with former New Zealand representatives and a continuation of his form is certain to yield success for PBEC.
Akroyd is well familiar with the pressure and intensity of matchplay golf at the highest national level. His track record shows he almost always contributes and he has been part of some vital team wins at senior national interprovincials.
Anderson had four impressive wins last year and if he reproduces his impressive tee-to-green play and keeps locked away the putting demons that have plagued his game at times, a fruitful week lies ahead.
Jeune combines a swing that appears to be a continual work in progress with a short game that can border on the Houdini-like. If the swing is in the slot, there should be several “W’s” next to his name.
On the evidence of his runner-up performance at the Poverty Bay Open last month, Andreassen has a mental game that complements his general accuracy in all departments.
And while he has not played provincial golf, he has 15 years of Bay of Plenty pennants at premier and senior A level for his former Mt Maunganui club.
Not getting to Auckland in time for a practice round will add to his challenge.
Last year PBEC registered at least one individual result in every team clash.
Their problem was the inability of three or more players to fire in the same round.
There is an air of positivity in the 2017 side. They feel they can compete with any side but have targeted certain ties for team success.
The week-long matchplay tournament is being held at the 6250-metre, par-71 Whitford Park course.
PBEC play Northland and defending champions Auckland on Monday, Tasman and North Harbour on Tuesday, Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday, Manawau-Wanganui and Otago on Thursday and Taranaki on Friday.