Kerekere top qualifier in Poverty Bay men's golf open
IF you had told Peter Kerekere pre-tournament that 152 would get his name on the top qualifier’s trophy at the 83rd edition of the Poverty Bay men’s golf open, it’s highly likely an eyebrow would have been raised.
The winner of two Emerre and Hathaway-sponsored PB Open titles in his 20s got his first Open in his 30s off to the ideal start by claiming the No.1 seeding in 36 holes of strokeplay on the Poverty Bay course yesterday.
Rounds of 2-over 74, 78 were good enough on a sleeping monster of a course that opened an eye and yawned in the afternoon but became only mildly annoyed courtesy of a stiff wind and patchy rain.
That proved enough as several of the leading contenders, including Kerekere, suffered grief on the back nine holes, which for many were the Mr Hyde to the front-nine Doctor Jekyll.
What should have been an array of sub-par scores in benign morning conditions resulted in only a handful of rounds of note — and none of those were red numbers.
Poverty Bay greenkeeper William Brown produced the individual 18-hole score of the day — 1-over 73 — but failed to back it up in the afternoon, firing 82 to drop to sixth in the championship 16.
Two-time Open winner Kerekere, two weeks after his 30th birthday, earned the Scott Plate as top qualifier with rounds of 74, 78.
He was two strokes ahead of Poverty Bay clubmate Peter Anderson (77, 77) and defending champion and dual Te Puia Springs/Poverty Bay member Andrew Higham (75, 79).
Kerekere, Anderson and Higham all had back-nine afternoon struggles in the form of triple-bogeys — Kerekere on the 14th, Anderson the 16th and Higham the 12th.
Whitford Park member and former Gisborne player David Solomann (74, 81) pipped Brown for fifth on countback, thanks to his better second round.
Home-course player George Brown (no relation to William) was an admirable sixth after adding 81 to his morning 75.
A further stroke back were Poverty Bay’s Peter Clayton (77, 84) and Gisborne Park’s Anuresh Chandra (75, 82) — a three-time Eisenhower Trophy world amateur championship representative for Fiji, who recently shifted to Gisborne from Christchurch.
Collin Jeffrey made it four 50-plus-year-olds in the top group with the best round of the afternoon, 76, to go with his morning 82 and was 10th qualifier overall.
Seven-time Open champion Waka Donnelly slipped into the top echelon in 14th position on 159 (78, 81).
All 80 players, including the pair who staggered to qualifying-high rounds of 112 and 113, face matchplay in five groups of 16 today and tomorrow.
The Keiha Cup first-16 champion will be crowned tomorrow afternoon.
Poverty Bay Open top 16 —152 — Peter Kerekere (Poverty Bay) 74, 78.
154 — Peter Anderson (PB) 77, 77; Andrew Higham (Te Puia Springs) 75, 79.
155 — Anaru Reedy (PB) 77, 78; David Solomann (Whitford Park) 74, 81; William Brown (PB) 73, 82.
156 — George Brown (PB) 75, 81.
157 — Peter Clayton (PB) 77, 84; Anuresh Chandra (Gisborne Park) 75, 82.
158 — Collin Jeffrey (PB) 82, 76; Hukanui Brown (Patutahi) 80, 78; Stefan Andreassen (PB) 77, 81.
159 — Ruel Pedersen (Kawerau) 81, 78; Waka Donnelly (Napier) 78, 81; Andrew Wright (Akarana) 75, 84.
160 — Thomas Donovan (PB) 82, 78.