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?Uphill task for PBEC at national tourney

Stranger things have happened in golf but you wouldn’t be betting your brand new Titleist driver on Poverty Bay-East Coast ending the Toro national interprovincial on a winning high today.

After a fourth consecutive team defeat on Christchurch’s Clearwater course yesterday morning, PBEC were to face an unfamiliar challenge this afternoon.

So many times in previous national interprovincials, seedings have usually meant the last tie for PBEC has been against a side in a similar position.

Not today. PBEC, after a bye this morning, were to tee off at lunchtime against semifinal prospects Manawatu-Wanganui.

In probably the story of the tournament so far, Man-Wang ended yesterday’s round at the top of Section 1, having finished wooden spooners in 2017.

They also had the bye this morning and were likely to lose that lead, but with 15 individual wins — more than any other team in the section and second only to Section 2 leaders Auckland after yesterday’s sole round — you would have to think PBEC wouldn’t trouble them.

Especially as PBEC have won just one individual match in four team rubbers since opening the tournament on Monday with a 2½-all draw with Bay of Plenty.

Yesterday they were aiming to add to that team tally against Aorangi, but the southerners prevailed 4-1 to keep PBEC at the bottom of the section and unlikely to move off it.

The good news yesterday was a first win of the week for PBEC No.1 William Brown.

It’s a skyscraper-tall order to play in this spot. You face New Zealand champions, national representatives, guys who are on a pathway to professionalism. So Brown could feel well pleased with his 1-up win against Aorangi’s Cameron Grant.

Little separated the pair throughout but Brown stayed cool under the business-end pressure and the only difference in the end was Grant’s three-putt on the 17th to go 1 down.

“Willie’s last five holes were really solid,” PBEC manager Dave Keown said.

“He gave nothing away.”

No.2 Anaru Reedy also had a tight clash with Nigel Heney before losing 3 and 1.

“He had a bit of luck go against him,” Keown said. “But in his own words, he could have won it.

“He played a couple of shots that weren’t quite Anaru-like, but again the guy he played, played well and had some luck.”

No.3 Peter Kerekere lost 2-down to Regan Stills.

“Pete played a little rough but kept himself in the game with a good short game,” Keown said.

“He lost 17 (the eighth as they started on the 10th tee) to go 1 down and went for it on 18 . . . I don’t think 2-down was a true reflection of the grittiness of the way he played.”

No.4 Hukanui Brown “had his moments but struggled” in a 7 and 5 loss to Daniel Perham.

Elder brother Eddie Brown junior, at No.5, had a couple of twos and played some solid golf in his 4 and 3 loss to Damian Rodgers . . . “Unfortunately, once again, it was not good enough.”