PBEC pass on wooden spoon
WILLIAM Brown has contributed several success stories to the Poverty Bay-East Coast golf history books.
This week's national interprovincial men's golf tournament in Ashburton may well be his greatest.
Brown finished the week as he started it as PBEC happily handed over the wooden spoon to Tasman despite losing their final round.
The man known to his mates as “Wi” had his fifth victory in six matches in Poverty Bay-East Coast's 3½-1½ loss to Northland yesterday morning.
PBEC had a bye in the afternoon so had to wait to find out if they had lifted themselves out of their bottom ranking.
They had. Tasman needed to beat Aorangi 5-0 yesterday afternoon to leapfrog them but lost 3-2.
PBEC finished on one team point and 10½ individual wins to Tasman's zero team points and eight individual wins.
While it is not confirmed, Brown's performance could be the best by a PBEC player in the long history of the national interprovincials.
Certainly it is the best of this millennium.
Long-time manager Dave Keown can't recall such a success rate and neither can stalwart representatives such as Tony Akroyd.
Brown, playing five matches at No.3 and one at No.2, had wins against Otago, Canterbury, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Wanganui and Northland. His only loss was against hosts Aorangi in Round 3.
Keown summed up Brown's achievements in one word — “phenomenal”.
“He just fought and fought and fought.”
That applied to yesterday as Brown, at No.2, beat Northland's Christian Nitsche 1-up — his tightest match of the tournament.
No.3 Peter Kerekere earned a half in a rollercoaster match against Michael Brodie.
“I was 3-up through eight holes, then he went birdie, par, birdie to square the match,” Kerekere said.
Brodie won the 14th to go 1-up and after halving the 15th Kerekere won 16 to even it up again, only for his opponent to birdie 17 to regain the lead.
Kerekere kept his cool, and a par on the 18th was enough for the honours to be shared.
With Andy Higham sitting out the round after a bout of hay fever, Hukanui Brown was promoted to No.1 but was outgunned 7 and 6 by former professional Richard Squire, a multiple winner of the East Coast Open held at Te Puia Springs.
No.4 Regan Hindmarsh lost 4 and 3 and No.5 Dwayne Russell, who went in on the back of two consecutive wins, was brought back to Earth, 7 and 6.
Keown could not speak highly enough of the side, considering it was their only representative outing of the year and their preparation was severely hampered by the postponement of the Poverty Bay men's open and the vital game time it would have given them.
Club professional Keown being out of action with injury for several weeks did not help either.
“But the guys played some bloody good golf and put their heart and soul into it,” he said.
“They're a great bunch of guys who did the district proud. Wi was a sensation but everyone got a result and put something into the team.”
Poverty Bay-East Coast's team win came against Otago in the opening round. It included a victory on debut for Hindmarsh.
Keown put that result into context when discussing it with the rookie.
“If Poverty Bay were to play Otago in rugby, what do you think the score would be?”
Waikato topped the points table to set up a semifinal against Hawke's Bay this morning while Wellington were to face Taranaki in the other semi.
Fifth-placed Otago were left lamenting their first-round loss to PBEC, which ultimately cost them a place in the last four.
This week could also be the last time a men's representative golf team play under the PBEC banner. The PBEC Golf Association is to discuss changing its name to Tairawhiti at its annual meeting on December 13.