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Good start for Akroyd


TAUPO’S Centennial golf course is familiar territory for long-time Poverty Bay-East Coast representative Tony Akroyd.

That experience played its part as Akroyd fashioned an unbeaten record on Day 1 of the Freyberg Masters national interprovincial yesterday.

Akroyd, at No.3 in the five-man team, had a half and a win as PBEC lost 3½-1½ to Hawke’s Bay and 4-0 to Tasman in the over-40s matchplay tournament.

No.4 Simon Jeune provided the other individual point — a win against Hawke’s Bay.

Most of the PBEC team know the Taupo course well, having played there in the now-defunct Central North Island quadrangular.

Much of that experience, however, was gained in winter when low temperatures and fog were among the elements they had to contend with.

Centennial is a different beast in summer, challenging players with its spicy fairways and grainy greens.

Akroyd probably should have ended the day with a perfect record, letting slip a 2-up advantage late in his morning match to share the honours with Hawke’s Bay’s David Wilkinson.

He reversed that situation in his afternoon clash with John Murray, with a fightback for an impressive 1-up win under pressure.

Jeune is always hard to peg back once in front and he proved that in a 3 and 2 win against Hawke’s Bay’s Paul Beachen.

He fell just short of finishing the day unbeaten, losing 1-down to Tasman’s Blair Bavin in the afternoon.

No.1 Pete Anderson admitted his putting “abandoned” him in his 2 and 1 losses to Steffan Hepburn (HB) and Glen Drummond (Tas).

Anderson said he was struggling to read the greens, having come from the pure-rolling dance floors of his home Poverty Bay course to greens that tended to have a lot more borrow around the hole.

It was something he needed to work out, especially with PBEC facing tournament heavyweights Auckland and Canterbury today.

No.2 Eddie Brown junior suffered a 5 and 4 morning loss to Nick Radonich — a player with plenty of matchplay experience against PBEC.

Brown jr proved more competitive in the afternoon in a 2 and 1 loss to Craig Newman.

Auckland-based No.5 David Solomann lost 2 and 1 to Hugh Harrison and 5 and 4 to Blair Bavin.

PBEC were to face probably their toughest day today — Auckland this morning and Canterbury in the afternoon.

Auckland won their only round yesterday 5-0 against Northland, while Canterbury had wins against Northland and Waikato.

Anderson said team reserve Jace Brown was likely to make his debut today.