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Poverty Bay-East Coast give heavyweights a fright at golf tournament

BREAKTHROUGH WIN: Poverty Bay-East Coast team reserve Dwayne Russell played at No.5 against Bay of Plenty at Ashburton yesterday afternoon and celebrated his first national interprovincial win. PBEC gave BoP — among the country’s golfing heavyweights — a fright before losing the team contest 3-2. PBEC were to play Manawatu-Wanganui today.Picture by Paul Rickard

A SUPER-SUB performance and a blitz of Tiger Woods-like intensity made for a memorable though not quite successful Day 2 of the national interprovincal golf tournament for Poverty Bay-East Coast.

PBEC lost both team matchplay rounds on the Ashburton course yesterday, falling 4½-½ to host province Aorangi and 3-2 to Bay of Plenty.

That second scoreline was as close as it suggests. One hole proved the difference between defeat and a team half as New Zealand’s smallest golfing union gave one of the country’s heavyweights a fright.

The afternoon clash against BoP was decided by the battle of the No.4s — Poverty Bay-East Coast’s Peter Kerekere and Bay of Plenty’s Nathan Clark.

Kerekere trailed 1-down playing the 18th and the pair exchanged pars for a relieved BoP to get across the line.

“It was another awesome game,” Kerekere said.

The two PBEC wins were special.

Team reserve Dwayne Russell replaced Regan Hindmarsh at No.5 and celebrated his first national interprovincial win.

Russell led Ethan Larsen 1-up playing the 18th, only to bang his drive out of bounds. He responded with a birdie with his second ball for a bogey-5 — sinking a 15-foot putt — and his opponent was unable to slot an 8-footer to halve the match.

“First win, stoked bro’,” Russell said later.

The other win came from No.3 William Brown, who lit up the back nine to record his third victory in four matches.

Trailing Jayme Martin after nine holes, Brown went berserk in the next six holes — going birdie-3, birdie-3, par-3, eagle-3, birdie-2, birdie-3 and completing a breathtaking victory on the 17th.

“Amazing, amazing,” team manager Dave Keown said.

Brown’s reaction was classic understatement.

“Yeah bro’, solid back nine for me.”

No.1 Andrew Higham and No.2 Hukanui Brown both lost on the 13th.

Higham saved the whitewash in the morning round against Aorangi with a half at the top of the order.

“He fought all day, fantastic,” Keown said.

Hukanui Brown lost 2 and 1, William Brown 4 and 2, Kerekere 4 and 3 and Hindmarsh 6 and 5.

The results for Higham and Russell meant all six squad members have had a positive result.

Keown could not fault the efforts of the side in either round.

The difference, he said, was a few missed putts.

“And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

PBEC ended the day in 10th place out of the 13 provinces — Auckland and North Harbour are not competing due to Covid-19 — on one team point and seven individual wins.

Waikato led on three team points and 11.5 individual wins, just ahead of Wellington (3 and 11) and Taranaki (3 and 10).

PBEC were to play only one round today, against Manawatu-Wanganui.

This tournament could be the last time the team play as Poverty Bay-East Coast. The PBEC Golf Association is to discuss changing its name to Tairāwhiti at its annual meeting on December 13.