Milner repeats sudden-death heroics
The history-repeating moment was not lost on Dion Milner as Tolaga Bay booked their place in the final of the Poverty Bay-East Coast men’s interclub pennants.
A wet and cold Milner, known to many as Coastie, won a sudden-death playoff at Gisborne Park on Saturday to set up an Oligoi Jug-deciding clash with Poverty Bay (1) on Sunday, May 27.
The former Poverty Bay-East Coast golf representative sank a four-foot putt for par on Park’s 18th hole to defeat Patutahi’s Shayde Skudder.
It completed a dramatic turnaround from the morning when Poverty Bay (1) wiped their feet on Tolaga Bay in an 8-0 semifinal blitz that earned top qualifiers PB the direct route to the final and relegated second-seeded Tolaga Bay to an afternoon elimination tie against the ’Tahi.
Milner’s victory came nearly 16 years after he won a sudden-death playoff with a birdie on the first hole against Poverty Bay’s Spud Murphy on the same course to earn Tolaga Bay the crown in 2002 — the only time they have won it.
“I was thinking about that when I was coming up to hit my second shot,” said Milner, who left his wet-weather gear and umbrella at home and had to endure miserable conditions as the rain swept in.
Milner quickly got the upper hand in the playoff, as Skudder hit trees off the tee and was unable to make the green of the 315-metre par-4 in regulation.
Par was good enough for Milner, who earlier won his match 3 and 2 against Eddie Brown Jnr while Taine Lincoln provided the other victory, also 3 and 2, over Brown’s younger brother Hukanui.
Skudder beat Bruce Yates 4 and 3 and Jace Brown defeated Tere Lincoln 2 and 1 to set up the extra hole decider.
Tolaga Bay looked far from final contenders in the morning in a one-sided clash with PB (1), who shared the title with Patutahi last year.
They had plenty of time to contemplate their afternoon tactics after PB’s Wi Brown crushed Milner 7 and 6, Peter Kerekere steamrollered Bruce Yates also on the 12th, Peter Anderson thumped Taine Lincoln 6 and 5 and Simon Jeune completed the whitewash 3 and 2 against Tere Lincoln.
In the elimination 3-versus-4 semifinal, Patutahi beat PB (2) 6-2. Skudder, Hukanui Brown and Jace Brown had wins, while Eddie Brown lost to Brent Colbert.
Te Puia Springs — Andrew Higham, Thomas Donovan, Jason Devery and Wade Wesche — beat Gisborne Park’s Brad Reynolds, Sel Peneha, Rod Moore and Tom Teneti 8-0 in the 5-v-6 playoff.
The Springs then defeated the PB (2) team of Colbert, Alister Jennings, Peter Clayton and David Situ 6-2 in the afternoon to make the Pounamu Trophy playoff for third.
Draw for playoffs (matchplay over 36 holes) at Poverty Bay on Sunday, May 27 —
Final: Poverty Bay (1) v Tolaga Bay.
3rd/4th playoff for Pounamu Trophy: Patutahi v Te Puia Springs.
5th and 6th playoff: Poverty Bay (2) v Gisborne Park.