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Winning 50th for Brown

IT was a 50th that could not have been any sweeter.

Poverty Bay-East Coast paid tribute to William Brown chalking up a half-century of matches in his ninth men’s national golf interprovincial with the upset of the day on the Mangawhai course in Northland yesterday.

Starring for the country’s smallest golfing district was the man himself as PBEC stunned a highly-rated Southland side 3-2 in their round 2 afternoon clash.

Brown played his first national interprovincial in 2009 at the age of just 16. He has been in every PBEC team since then . . . a “veteran” yet to reach 25 years of age.

Yesterday morning he won his 49th match as PBEC fell 4-1 to Hawke’s Bay in the opening round of the week-long tournament.

Yesterday afternoon he won No.50 as the 13th-ranked province underlined the beautiful unpredictability of this sport.

Brown, at No.3 in the five-man PBEC side, No.4 Kurtis Cortesi and No.5 Andrew Higham won their matches to bring Southland face-planting back to terra firma after their 4½-½ win over Taranaki in the morning.

Higham, in his 10th national interprovincial, is in the No.5 role for a reason — the anchor. To get the proverbial team win ball rolling. Knock over the first domino. Inspire those teammates behind him.

The 30-year-old painter-decorator went close in the morning in losing 2 and 1. He delivered in the afternoon to set up a momentous team victory.

Poverty Bay Open champion Higham brushed aside Southland matchplay champion Tyler McLean 5 and 4.

“Andy was 4-up after four holes and 6-up at the turn (after nine holes),” said PBEC manager Dave Keown, who has been part of nearly every one of Higham and Brown’s national interprovincial campaigns. “I think he was three or four-under the card. He’s playing great golf.”

Brown and Cortesi also delivered red-figure performances.

Keown said Brown was “a couple-under” in his 3 and 2 win over Liam Balneaves while Tokoroa-based Tolaga Bay member Cortesi was also under the card in his 4 and 3 defeat of Jeremy Hall.

PBEC No.1 Tini Hawea was outclassed 8 and 7 by Scott Hellier and No.2 Nathaniel Cassidy lost 3 and 2 to Matt Tautari.

Keown has no concerns about Hawea. The teenager, who played No.5 in his national interprovincial debut last year, put up his hand to play in the toughest position in the side.

“Someone was always going to have to,” said Keown, whose side is missing the player who would have almost certainly been in that slot — Peter Kerekere, unavailable because his partner is due to give birth to twins.

“But Tini’s one of those players who could go out there and fire.”

He has to. At No.1, sub-par golf is almost imperative. Hellier, who shot 12-under 60 to break the course record at Russley in the New Zealand amateur last month, was a handful under the card when he and Hawea shook hands.

Despite a couple of heavy losses, Keown said Hawea was “in good spirits”.

“He’s played alright. He’s playing stars and finding out what a star is.”

PBEC were unable to repeat their 2016 defeat of Hawke’s Bay yesterday morning.

The Magpies comfortably won 4-1.

Brown provided the only win — 2 and 1 over Adam Winter.

Hawea lost 6 and 5 to Ben Swinburne; Cassidy, also a joint member of Tokoroa and Tolaga Bay, lost 5 and 4 to New Zealand age group champion Mako Thompson; Cortesi lost 3 and 2 to Tyson Tawera, who won the King of the Coast crown at Tolaga Bay earlier this year; and Higham lost 2 and 1 to Russell Mitchell.

PBEC ended the day fifth out of seven provinces in their section led by Southland.

They faced North Harbour this morning and Canterbury in the afternoon.