Tasman made the most of home course advantage to pull off a history-making victory in the South Island Interprovincial golf championships today.
For the first time, Tasman were crowned South Island champions, shading golfing powerhouse Canterbury by half a point during a gripping final day on the Marlborough Golf Club course at Fairhall.
The competition involved eight-person teams from Tasman, Aorangi, Otago and Canterbury doing battle on Saturday and Sunday in a match play format. Each player contested two games each on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Tasman met Otago first up on Saturday, followed by Canterbury in the afternoon, then Aorangi on Sunday morning.
After the three rounds were concluded Tasman, Canterbury and Aorangi finished with two points each. Tasman beat Otago 6-2, Aorangi 7-1 and lost 3-5 to Canterbury.
However, Tasman won on a countback of individual games, having won 16 times, compared with Canterbury’s 15.5 and Aorangi’s 10. Otago finished without a win.
In the end the result came down to two matches which were decided on the final hole.
Tasman No 3 and captain Emily Stenhouse and number four Amber Boyce were both square with their Aorangi rivals going down the 18th but produced some solid golf to pick up vital wins which ultimately made the difference.
Nelson’s Eve Clarke, Stenhouse, from the Marlborough club, and Karamea’s Jean Gibson won all three of their games.
Stenhouse was thrilled to come out on top and said neither she nor Boyce knew that the overall result hinged on their final holes against Aorangi.
“We weren’t sure that we needed to win on the 18th … we were just excited that we had won our matches, then someone told us that we had won overall, so that was pretty cool.”
Tasman broke a 33-year drought at the prestigious event, which has been running since 1986.
Stenhouse said there was no doubt home course advantage played a big part in the result.
“Just knowing the course helps and we had a few supporters down there too, club members and others from around the area.
“It’s a great team. We all get on amazingly well and we have a good team culture.”
The Tasman senior women’s team which won the SI title (in playing order): Lizzie Neale (Nelson), Eve Clarke (Nelson), Emily Stenhouse (Marlborough, captain), Amber Boyce (Awatere), Tracy Bary (Rarangi), Aroha Minhinnick (Rarangi), Jean Gibson (Karamea) and Michelle Reardon (Nelson).
After the event the Toro Interprovincial team was named to compete in Napier in the first week of December.
That team is: Lizzie Neale (Nelson), Eve Clarke (Nelson), Emily Stenhouse (Marlborough), Amber Boyce (Awatere), Tracy Bary (Rarangi). Travelling reserve: Aroha Minhinnick.
Stenhouse said their win at the weekend will allow them to travel north with renewed confidence.
“We are all feeling like we can pull off wins against whoever we come across now.”