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Reedy top qualifier in Open

“SUNDAY School” members are claiming significant credit for Anaru Reedy earning the top qualifier’s honours at the Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay men’s open here yesterday.

Reedy shot 2-over 146 on his home Poverty Bay course to clinch the Scott Plate, which goes to the lowest gross scorer in the 36 holes of strokeplay qualifying.

But that is just one step towards the ultimate goal for the 46-year-old.

Reedy, who won his fourth East Coast Open crown at Te Puia Springs this year, is hungry to get his hands on the main PB Open silverware — the Keiha Cup for the Open matchplay champion.

Two rounds of 1-over 73 were good enough to get Reedy off to the ideal start yesterday. The 2004 New Zealand Maori champion and former Wellington representative had seven birdies over the 36 holes. His one blemish was a double-bogey on the ninth hole in the afternoon.

According to several of his cohorts, his mental game has been hardened by regular participation in the Bay’s “Sunday School” — an eclectic gathering of players every Sunday morning.

He could, however, easily argue that plenty of his own work has gone into a saxophone-smooth swing anchored by a baseball grip he adopted five years ago – a rare grip for players of such a low handicap.

Clearly, though, it works for the son of the late Amster Reedy, the kaumatua of the New Zealand team at four Olympic Games.

Reedy ended up three strokes ahead of the field on a day where brilliance and disaster frolicked hand in hand.

Defending champion Peter Kerekere, vying to become only the second player to win three Open titles on the trot, qualified second on 149 (71, 78).

Four strokes back were Mt Maunganui’s Matt Champness and 2014 Open champion Andrew Higham on matching rounds of 76, 77.

Patutahi’s Tony Akroyd provided the Jekyll-and-Hyde story of the day. The Open champion 10 years ago was co-leader with Kerekere after the first round, his 71 featuring the rare feat of making birdie-2 on each of the Bay’s par-3s — the second, sixth and 11th holes.

It was nearly four twos. He hit the pin with a wedge for his second shot on the par-4 ninth, his ball stopping a foot away.

Akroyd started his afternoon round with a birdie but from there it went pear-shaped and he staggered to 86 to qualify eighth.

Seven-time Open champion Waka Donnelly was in danger of missing the top 16 after an 82 in the morning but recovered with 78 in the afternoon for the 12th seeding.

Seventy-year-old Tene Goldsmith would have preferred to be in the second 16, which is played off handicap.

The popular left-hander only had himself to blame after making birdie on his last hole of the day to qualify 15th and set up a first-round encounter with Kerekere.

Scotsman George Brown (79, 80) and fellow 50-plussers Pete Clayton (80, 82), Simon Jeune (77, 78) and Stefan Andreassen (79, 79) also made the top echelon.

Among the stories of the day was that of Gray Clapham, who eagled the 388-metre ninth hole using his 3-hybrid club.

Neil Mackie was busy telling Clapham about the wedge he sank from 90m on the same hole for birdie-3 only to be one-upped in no uncertain terms.

There were some big numbers among the also-rans and it was not lost on the local players that the bottom two qualifying places were filled by Gisborne pharmacists Grant Bramwell (99, 117) and Sean Shivnan (128, 121)

In defence of the pair, Shivnan is a new golfer on a 41-handicap who has never experienced the intensity of such a high-pressure format, while Olympic gold medal-winning kayaker Bramwell, whose afternoon round featured an 11 on the 13th and 12 on the 15th, has not played in a tournament proper in many years.

They were not the only golfers whose cards featured double-digits as the deep rough, pressure of having to count every shot and tougher afternoon conditions intensified the challenge.

Matchplay in five groups of 16 started this morning. Finals are tomorrow afternoon.

Poverty Bay Open championship 16 (from Poverty Bay unless otherwise indicated) —

146: Anaru Reedy 73, 73.

149: Peter Kerekere 71, 78.

153: Matt Champness (Mt Maunganui) 76, 77; Andrew Higham (Te Puia Springs) 76 77.

154: Sam Clemens (Royal Wellington) 77, 77; William Brown (Waikohu) 76, 78.

155: Simon Jeune 77, 78.

157: Tony Akroyd (Patutahi) 71, 86.

158: Jayden Bright (Gisborne Park) 80, 78; Stefan Andreassen 79, 79.

159: George Brown 79, 80.

160: Waka Donnelly (Napier) 82, 78; Pete Anderson 77, 83.

162: Peter Clayton 80, 82.

163: Tene Goldsmith 80, 83; Shayde Skudder (Patutahi) 77, 86.

TOP SEED: Anaru Reedy tees off the eighth hole during qualifying for the Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay men’s open on his home Poverty Bay course yesterday. Reedy, the reigning East Coast Open champion, top-qualified over the 36 holes of strokeplay with 2-over 146 (73, 73) — three shots ahead of defending champion Peter Kerekere. The 80-strong field started matchplay in five groups of 16 this morning. Pictures by Paul Rickard
ALL IN THE FAMILY: The Kane family are well represented at the Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay men’s golf open being played at the Poverty Bay course this week. Brothers Brian, Glen and Ross Kane have all returned to their hometown to compete in the three-day tournament, and Ross brought teenage son Jackson with him. Brother-in-law Warwick Thompson — who is married to the Kane siblings’ sister Odette — is also playing in the Open. They are the children of a popular golfer of Poverty Bay past, Tom Kane, who died in 2000. Glen, a member of Manawatu course Apiti, took the family honours yesterday with qualifying rounds of 94 and 88 off a 15-handicap. However, Brian (Royal Wellington) got one over him by winning the approach (closest to the pin for 1) on the par-3 11th hole. Glen had been closest before Brian’s winning shot. Four-handicapper Jackson (Royal Auckland and Grange) turned 17 yesterday but won’t have fond memories of an afternoon round in which Ross (Apiti), off a 23-handicap, beat him off the stick. From left are Brian, Glen, Jackson and Ross. The Open continued today with the first two rounds of matchplay. Semifinals and finals are tomorrow. Picture by Paul Rickard