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Anderson wins PB Open

YOU don’t win the pinnacle title of Poverty Bay-East Coast men’s golf through luck.

There can be a fortuitous bounce off a tree on the out-of-bounds fenceline.

A thinly hit chip can smack into the flagstick at breakneck speed and drop in the hole.

Your opponent can hit a glorious drive down the middle, only to find his ball nestled in an unrepaired divot.

But those are incidentals. To be crowned champion is a process. It combines talent, obviously, putting it all together each round, and as was underlined in the 2018 Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay men’s open, the old scout’s motto of “being prepared”.

On Saturday afternoon, the player who put more into his build-up than anyone else in the 80-strong field who teed off in the 83rd edition of the three-day tournament was rewarded with the ultimate accolade.

Pete Anderson had never won a cup in his 30 years of golf.

He emphatically broke that drought with the Keiha Cup championship 16 trophy, joining an elite list featuring the greatest players in Poverty Bay-East Coast golfing history.

That feat was not lost on the 42-year-old as he walked down the 18th fairway back to the clubhouse after defeating Tokoroa-based Kawerau member Ruel Pedersen 3 and 1 in a matchplay final appreciated by one of the more decent-sized galleries in recent Open history.

'I never thought I’d make the final of the

Poverty Bay Open, let alone win it'“I never thought I’d make the final of the Poverty Bay Open, let alone win it,” he said.

This was a victory several intensive weeks in the making.

Anderson was out on his home course practising daily, usually early in the morning before the greenkeeepers arrived for work. On most of those days, he returned in the afternoon.

Not only, though, was it about keeping his swing and short game honed. Anderson took it to a professional level, right down to making intricate notes about the greens.

Every base was covered, although considering he is a data analyst for Auckland-based company Datamine, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Those variables aside, his win came down to two vital basics. Hit it down the middle. Don’t three-putt.

Simple as that. He was powerful and accurate off the tee virtually all week and — even more impressively — had just one three-putt in six rounds of golf, a statistic of which the reinvigorated Tiger Woods would be proud.

The final summed up both those features of his game. He struck the ball superbly and his putting was near flawless. He didn’t have a single birdie. He didn’t have to.

Pedersen, possibly the fastest player you will ever see at this level, went into the final on the back of three consecutive sudden-death matchplay wins.

In Saturday morning’s semifinals, he birdied the 19th to beat two-time PB Open winner Peter Kerekere after Anderson knocked out Patutahi’s Hukanui Brown on the 17th.

Built like a Super Rugby midfield back with the power to match it, Pedersen didn’t worry about a lunch break.

He walked straight back to the first tee, smoked a drive down the fairway and got on with the final.

His seemingly lackadaisical style drew plenty of comment. But that is his way. He was exactly the same in his 2012 PB Open final loss to William Brown and nothing has changed.

Pedersen went 1-up on the par-3 second hole after Anderson found the left-hand bunker and made bogey. It was back to all-square on the fourth after Pedersen cut his drive into the trees and bogeyed.

A wild second from Pedersen on the fifth ended in his having to take a penalty drop and Anderson going 1-up. He went 2-up after Pedersen three-putted the par-3 sixth.

The seventh produced one of the shots of the final from Anderson — a brilliant wedge to three feet over the pin after he found trees off the tee and had to chip out.

He sank that putt for par and the half and won the eighth with a par following another wayward drive from Pedersen.

The pair halved the ninth in bogeysThe pair halved the ninth in bogeys and after halving the next three holes with pars, Anderson increased his advantage to 4-up when Pedersen drove out of bounds on the 13th.

They halved the 14th in pars and at 4-down with four holes to play, Pedersen went into survival mode, winning the 15th with a par, then making the only birdie of the final on the 16th — an ordinary chip shot that hit the pin dead-middle at speed and dropped into the hole, much to Anderson’s dismay.

However, Pedersen’s problems off the tee continued on 17 when he pulled his drive way left and only just clipped the top of the trees with his approach.

Anderson was on for two; Pedersen could only get there for four and conceded defeat.

It was a wonderful moment for Anderson and testament to what has become a regular saying — “do the mahi (work), get the treats”.

There was emotion at the prize-giving, as he acknowledged those — old names among them — who had encouraged him as a junior.

That was matched by his peers standing in appreciation and respect for the work that went into this victory.

They celebrated accordingly, the Keiha Cup apparently being filled at least 18 times over the night.

The other divisions produced plenty of fireworks.

Patutahi’s Eddie Brown junior, the day before his 40th birthday, won five holes in a row after being 2-down with seven holes to play to beat Mt Maunganui’s Tim Neill 3 and 2 in the second-16 final; Jim McGregor (Poverty Bay) beat long-time PB Open participant Tim Mackie (Waipukurau) 4 and 3 in the third 16; Poverty Bay’s Paul Mullooly beat Mt Maunganui’s Doug Kirkpatrick — the son of local couple Alex and Debbie Kirkpatrick — on the 19th in the fourth 16; and event sponsor Stu Harbottle came from 4-down to topple Pete Young (Putaruru) on the 19th in the fifth 16.


CONCENTRATION: Pete Anderson lines up a putt during last year’s Poverty Bay Open. Anderson won that tournament, and he ended this week’s Freyberg Masters tournament in winning form, too. Playing at No.1 for Poverty Bay-East Coast, he beat Southland’s Simon Hollyer 1-up in a 3-2 team loss. Anderson now prepares for the Toro men’s national interprovincial that starts on November 26. File picture by Paul Rickard
Poverty Bay Golf Open winner Pete Anderson.
Golf PB Open runner-up Ruel Pedersen.