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PB men's open entries sold out


GISBORNE faces an invasion of golfers chasing glory at a “sellout” 2019 Emerre & Hathaway Poverty Bay men’s open this month.

All 112 spots in the field have been filled well in advance of the district’s premier men’s tournament.

Nearly half of the entrants are visitors.

They’re coming from all over the North Island — from the Royal Wellington course, Taumarunui, Kawerau, Mount Maunganui, Rotorua, Taupo and a bunch of Auckland courses.

Arrowtown also has a member in the field.

Getting enough players for seven sections of 16 for the three-day tournament from September 26 to 28 is a reflection of and reward for the efforts of the organising crew.

The PB Open is steeped in history, dating back to 1931, and the aim is to lift its profile and prestige back up to the glory days.

Next year is looking even more promising as Poverty Bay Golf Club is hosting the 2020 New Zealand Amateur from October 28 to November 1, so it is anticipated a good number of the country’s top players will use the PB Open as preparation.

Quality abounds among this year’s challengers for the Keiha Cup championship 16 honours at the Poverty Bay Open — outside and locally.

The lowest-handicapped player is Richard Wright, of Matamata, off a +1.0. He is followed by home-course player Anaru Reedy (+0.7), Royal Wellington member Brayden Mazey (+0.4) and Hinehopu’s Rahiri Murray (+0.4).

Twenty players are on 3.6 or better.

The local challenge is traditionally strong and this year is no different. Reedy will be joined by multiple PB Open winners Peter Kerekere (2015/2016) and Andrew Higham (2014/2017) along with former winner William Brown (2012) and defending champion Pete Anderson.

The field features eight players whose names are on the Keiha Cup for the championship 16 winner. The most prolific of those is Waka Donnelly, who began his career at Te Puia Springs and is now at Napier.

Donnelly has won the title seven times — the same as the late Poverty Bay great Eric Gordon and one behind the late Frank Gordon, Eric’s elder brother.

The PB Open features two rounds of strokeplay qualifying on Day 1, followed by matchplay in groups of seven. The top 16 play off the stick; the other six off handicap.

A special feature of this year’s tournament is a $25,000 travel voucher to the player who makes a hole-in-one on the second hole during the second qualifying round.

THE men’s open completes a busy week at Poverty Bay.

The Poverty Bay women’s open is being held on September 23 and 24, and the call has gone out for local players to get behind it.

As of this week, around 45 entries had been received, more than half of those from out of town.

Planning committee member Anne Gemmell said they were keen to lift the profile of the tournament and attract more quality players, particularly up-and-comers.

Among this year’s field are a few single-figure-handicap players including Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay representative and home-course player Tessa McDonald.

Gemmell said that while it was great to see outside entries, they would love to get plenty of support from all clubs in the region.

This year’s tournament features three rounds of matchplay in groups of eight and includes a dinner on the Monday night.

Entries close on Thursday, September 12.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Poverty Bay Open champion Pete Anderson will defend his title this month. Picture by Paul Rickard