Harbour scalp gives Akroyd another high
LOYAL golfing servant Tony Akroyd has enjoyed the highs and endured the lows in his lengthy representative career.
Yesterday afternoon’s victory over North Harbour at the Freyberg Masters in Timaru rates near the top of that “highs” list.
Akroyd led Poverty Bay-East Coast to a 3-2 victory on day 4 of the over-40s matchplay tournament.
And he did it in style.
Playing at No.2 in the five-man team, Akroyd blew away Stu Nicholls 5 and 4 to lay the foundation for what turned out to be a dramatic team win.
Harbour tied it 1-all when Blair Dibley beat PBEC No.1 Pete Anderson 4 and 3.
The remaining three matches went to the 18th as the smallest of New Zealand’s 15 provinces avenged their 3-2 loss to Harbour last year.
“Quite often Poverty Bay-East Coast trips at the last hurdle,” said No.3 Simon Jeune, referring to the number of times they have been close but unable to finish the job. “We cleared that last hurdle.”
Jeune delivered the knockout blow but not before a couple of moments that will forever live in the memories of teammates Anaru Reedy and David Solomann.
Solomann, at No.5, was 3-down after nine holes against Wayne Flintham.
“Then he turned it on,” said Anderson.
Solomann won the 12th, 13th and 16th holes — including draining a 50-foot putt for birdie.
He lost the 17th to go 1-down, then put his approach shot on 18 to a foot of the hole for a birdie and to square the match.
No.4 Reedy was 3-down after five holes against Mark Anderson, got it back to 1-down by the 10th tee and from there it was all on.
They teed off 18 all-square. His opponent slotted a 15-foot putt for birdie and Reedy coolly responded by sinking a 12-footer for the half.
That left Jeune to bring it home.
He was 1-down with five holes to play against Tayne Derriman, then won three holes on the trot to go 2-up.
Derriman pulled one back and the pair stood on the 18th tee with Jeune 1-up. It came down to a 4-foot putt.
Only a brave or stupid few would bet against Poverty Bay Open champion Jeune missing one from that distance, despite the intense pressure.
He didn’t and PBEC celebrated a famous win that Pete Anderson had perhaps foreseen the day before when he said “watch out North Harbour”.
Akroyd deserved special praise.
He has contributed immensely to representative golf for three decades, racking up 60 national interprovincial matches, not to mention his many other rep appearances.
That loyalty has extended into his 40s and as one of the younger players at that level, he looks to have plenty more to offer.
PBEC went into today’s final two rounds in 13th place on 1½ team points and 11 individual points.
They faced top-of-the-table Bay of Plenty this morning and were to give reserve Pete Stewart his second match of the week in replacement of Reedy, who is nursing an elbow injury.
Reedy was to return to action for this afternoon’s all-important clash with 12th-placed Southland, who PBEC beat last year to finish 12th overall.