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PBEC out to break masters drought

November 9, 2006. Plenty of Freyberg Masters water has flowed under the matchplay bridge since then but not victoriously for the Poverty Bay-East Coast team. Just shy of nine years later, the 2015 edition of the men’s over-40s interprovincial tees off at New Plymouth Golf Club on Monday with the PBEC team hoping for rain of the metaphorical kind.

PBEC are determined to end a team victory drought dating back to November 9, 2006 — a 3-2 win over Tasman in Feilding. It didn’t stop them from finishing 15th and last overall, and over the ensuing eight masters tournaments, PBEC and the wooden spoon have been reunited regularly. That record — highlighted only by team halves in 2007 (v Northland) and 2008 (Tasman) — is something 2015 team player/selector John Wyllie is confident can change on the picturesque Ngamotu course next week.

“I think this year we have the team to do it,” said Wyllie, who has chucked himself into the deep end of a shark-filled pool. Wyllie (a member of Te Puia Springs and Poverty Bay) will be at No.1 in his second Freyberg Masters, having chalked up four wins at No.3 last year in Waitangi.

The rest of the team, in playing order, are Pete Bremner (Mahia), Anaru Reedy (Poverty Bay), Simon Jeune (PB) and Bruce Yates (Tolaga Bay). Co-selector Dougal Watts (PB) is reserve and team manager.

It is the first Freyberg Masters for Bremner and Reedy while at the opposite end of the experience scale, Jeune will be playing in his seventh. A repeat of his debut in 2004 — when he won four matches and halved two in leading PBEC to 10th — would be welcomed. It would also cap a memorable year for Jeune after winning the Poverty Bay senior club championship title and finishing runner-up in the East Coast and Poverty Bay opens.

Reedy, among the most pure strikers of the ball in the region, has the potential to be the star of this team. His placement at No.3, rather than No.1, is a tactical positioning. Wyllie believes that Reedy and Jeune are the key players in the side.

“If they win, all we need to do is pick up one more win (for a team victory).”

That suggests a sacrificial element to Wyllie being at No.1 but there’s certainly no talk of that from the forestry contractor. If anything, there’s an intensifying fire in his belly, enhanced by a reconnaissance to New Plymouth last weekend. Wyllie returned with a warning for his teammates.

“It’s not an easy track. It’s very tight track and there are a couple of very long holes — 248 metres of carry to the fairway.”

Several tees will be pushed back further and he expects the greens to be quick. A tight course should not bother Bremner. As a member at an at-times merciless Mahia course, the two-time King of the Coast winner is well familiar with having to keep the ball on the straight and narrow.

Yates is likely to rotate with Watts over the week, depending on form. Both are looking for an elusive first masters win, Watts having lost all his matches at No.1 in 2014 and Yates yet to register a success in two tournaments.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Poverty Bay-East Coast No.1 Anaru Reedy was the only player to beat Auckland No.1 Brent Patterson at the Freyberg Masters interprovincial golf tournament on the Whitford Park course this week. Yesterday, Reedy defeated the Taranaki No.1 Aarun Langton as PBEC finished the week-long tournament on a high, with a 3-2 team win and an overall 13th placing out of 15 provinces. Picture by Paul Rickard
SEVEN AND COUNTING: Simon Jeune will compete in his seventh Freyberg Masters (over-40s) national golf interprovincial on the Ngamotu course in New Plymouth next week. His first was in 2004 when he contributed four wins and two halves to Poverty Bay-East Coast's 10th placing. PBEC are seeded bottom of the 15 provinces and are looking for their first team win since 2006.