The final of the Toro Women’s Interprovincial in 2012 between Auckland and Wellington was one of the most dramatic in the history of the event that dates back to 1949. It was a special week at the St Clair Golf Club in Dunedin as the course played host to the best 70 golfers from around New Zealand. We look back on the highs and lows of the national team’s provincial championship.
Brittney’s moment of magic: It was so good it is worth mentioning again. Brittney Dryland stood on the tee with a five iron in her hand all square in her match with Lucy Davis – the pivotal match of the final. Her manager recommended she take an extra club so she pulled a four iron and hit it in the hole for one. It was an incredible shot in the circumstances and one that never looked like missing. Match play is all about momentum, and even more so with a team’s event, and this was the defining moment of the championship. Dryland showed her quality to keep her composure after that phenomenal high and carry onto win the match 1up at the last. The 19-year-old has a solid all round game and has all the attributes of a New Zealand rep. If you can handle this sort of pressure in your stride it bodes well for your composure.
The challenge of Wellington: They made their first final in 10 years and were looking to win their first title in 20 years and came oh so close. The team from the capital had plenty of magic moments from the week and played its part in setting up the most dramatic final in the history of the event. Before Dryland’s hole in one and Joanna Kim’s eagle which shifted the momentum of the match Wellington looked odds on the make history at St Clair. But they were left to wonder what might have been again. Alannah Braybrook missed a golden chance for a win over Eruera on the last and Lucy Davis will rue her slip on 16 that saw her under pressure from Dryland. But that is all experience and a good learning curve from a quality Wellington team that is still young. Julianne Alvarez was superb throughout the week and her win over Wenyung Keh in the final was special. So too was the finish of No.2 Te Rongopai Clay. She hit her approach to three feet on the last and made the birdie to ensure Wellington lost 3- 2. It was the least they deserved.
St Clair hosting second-to-none: The St Clair Golf Club did an exemplary job of hosting the event. The course superintendent Andrew Hobbs and his team (they only have two full-time green-keepers) did a fantastic job of getting the course in tournament condition which was well received by the players. The surface matched the stunning views around the layout like the second tee, the fourth tee and green and 15thtee. If you haven’t played St Clair before it is well worth a visit. The club staff, caterers (the food here was superb) and volunteers were all top notch. Their effort in the live scoring was great and anything you asked was never a problem. It will be a great host to the South Island Stroke Play in 2013 and was a fantastic host for the showpiece of women’s team golf.
Manawatu / Wanganui rising up: Perhaps the unluckiest team to not advance to the semifinals was Manawatu / Wanganui. The young team of Emma Clayton, Amber-Rose Thompson-Newth, Brydie Hodge, Stephanie Hyatt and Kelly Nicholas were superb all week. They lost two matches from six in pool play but amassed an incredible 21 individual points from a possible 30 to show they were very consistent. There is no doubt that this young team will take a huge amount of confidence in this performance and in years to come will feature in the final four and even be crowned as champions. Many of the other teams will have taken notice of this performance. Another notable mention here has to go to Tyla Kingi. The Opotiki golfer, who is still only 13, played with maturity for the Bay at No.3. It goes without saying she has a big future in the game.
Otago bringing the sun: Yes that is right. It was sunny and warm the whole week at the St Clair Golf Club. It got to 25 degrees Celsius on a couple of occasions during the week and it was actually hot. At no time was it unpleasant to play golf and the endless sunlight hours make Otago a great place to host events. Dunedin is a great town to get out amongst it as well. We went for a run up the steepest street in the world – Baldwin Street – no big deal really - and enjoyed the local pubs around the Octagon. It is a great place. For all golfers, the road trip down here to play Balmacewen, St Clair, Chisholm Park and even Taieri would be a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to get back there soon.
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