Taine the man for the sudden-death job
Taine Lincoln is not known for his excitability.
So when it came to choosing a player with the demeanour to handle the pressure of sudden-death golf, the 21-year-old ticked the cucumber cool box.
Lincoln responded with a second hole playoff win to put his Tolaga Bay side into the final of the 2019 Oligoi Jug men’s interclub pennants.
The Coast side took the direct route to the May 26 title decider with a team win over top qualifiers Patutahi in the 1 v 2 semifinal at the Poverty Bay course on Saturday.
The teams finished the morning matchplay locked 4-apiece. Lincoln provided one of their two wins; uncle Tere Lincoln the other.
Both played solid golf but when it came to deciding who should represent them in a sudden-death playoff, by far the youngest player in the four-man team had no problems shouldering the responsibility.
“Yeah, whatever, I’ll give it a crack,” he said when asked.
Two pars later, Tolaga Bay were through to the final where they will face reigning champions Poverty Bay 1 after they obliterated two opponents with the rampant force of a Game of Thrones dragon.
PB 1 beat Gisborne Park 8-zip in the 3 v 4 morning round — three of the matches ending on the 12th — then whitewashed Patutahi 8-0 in the afternoon.
It set up a repeat of last year’s final on a different battlefield, Gisborne Park, and it is likely both teams will feature the same line-ups as 2018, which ended in an 8-0 win to PB.
Taine Lincoln earned his pats on the back with a regulation par to playoff opponent Hukanui Brown’s bogey.
Brown, who cruised to a 5 and 4 win over Bruce Yates in his morning round, hit what he later described as “a block-bone” tee shot well right of the green, leaving him a shot most PGA pros would have dreaded.
The ’Tahi still had a chance to set up a rematch with Tolaga but came up against an unstoppable force in PB 1 in the afternoon.
It was a tougher assignment than their morning blitz, but PB 1’s Simon Jeune, Pete Anderson, Peter Kerekere and William Brown comfortably made it consecutive whitewashes.
Kerekere won holes 8 to 13 on his way to a 5 and 4 win over Tony Akroyd, who went into the match with a perfect singles record of four from four.
Anderson’s 4 and 2 win over Eddie Brown Junior was highlighted by a chip-in for eagle-2 on the 10th from the eighth hole, where his drive ended.
Jeune, having lost all his matches in the 2019 series before Saturday, had his second win of the day, 3 and 1 over Hukanui Brown.
William Brown’s 3 and 2 defeat of Jace Brown made it seven wins from eight matches, the same as Kerekere, but he will not add to that as he is unavailable for the final.
Te Puia Springs had wins over Poverty Bay 2 and Park to make the Pounamu Trophy playoff for third against Patutahi.
Thomas Donovan was the morning hero. He beat PB 2’s Peter Clayton on the first extra hole of their 5 v 6 elimination after the sides ended regulation play 4-all. Donovan led the way again — 6 and 4 over Brad Reynolds — in their 6-2 afternoon defeat of Park.
Late replacement Ray Walford saved the Park from a whitewash with a win over ring-in Jayden Bright.
Jason Devery had two wins for the Springs on the day.
George Brown took just 11 holes to dispose of Bright in PB 2’s loss to the Springs while Clayton was the other victor.
Positional playoffs are at the Park on May 26 in conjunction with the final round of the Endeavour men’s interclub pennants.