Locals Otago and Waikato have made perfect starts to the Toro Men’s Interprovincial at the Otago Golf Club today.



The weather was fine first this morning at the oldest golf club in New Zealand before the wind picked up this afternoon and made scoring challenging for the best 75 golfers from around New Zealand.


The Otago team, who were playing in front of sizeable and parochial crowds, began in confident fashion this morning when they hammered Poverty Bay 5 – 0 and then backed that up with a gritty 3 - 2 win over 2005 champions North Harbour to remain unbeaten.


“I don’t think the expectations are too big on us because we are a pretty inexperienced team,” said Otago No.2 Michael Smith who won both of his matches comfortably. 


“We are just going out there and having fun. It is awesome playing with 20 – 30 people on every hole watching you. It is just superb.”


Smith said he was inspired by his No.1 Brent McEwan who led from the front all day and was a collective nine under par for his two wins over Steven Donnelly (Poverty Bay) and Cam Jones (North Harbour).


“It is pretty easy when you are playing in front of him and you turn around and he is hitting darts right by the hole all day. He is going to be tough to stop around here. He is one of the best golfers in Otago if not New Zealand.”


Smith was also proud of his own efforts. Particularly in the second match against when he turned his team’s fortunes around with a come-from-behind win over Kevin Budden.


“I was three down through three but got back into the match and then made some birdies after the turn. It was pleasing to get that win that we needed.


“It is a big day tomorrow Canterbury has a star line up all the way through and Tasman is one of the dark horses so it is going to be tough but we’ll just do what we did today and try to get some wins on the board.”


Meantime the young Waikato team, who are looking to win the title for the first time in five years, were just as impressive as they managed wins over Hawkes Bay and Taranaki both by the margin of 4 -1.


There is a long way to go with the leading six teams from the 2011 event having the bye today. They will look to make up significant ground tomorrow. 


Defending champions Southland, with NZ No.1 Vaughan McCall away at the Australian Open, were ruthless in dispatching Aorangi 5 - 0 this afternoon.


Auckland, the second most successful team in history began their 2012 campaign with a 4 -1 win over Hawkes Bay this afternoon.


The most successful team Wellington also managed a win in their only match this morning by 3 - 2 over Manawatu / Wanganui.


One of the pre-tournament favourites Canterbury was looking likely to be upset early on by Tasman.


The Tasman No.3 Ryan Chisnall and No.4 Glen Drummond put the pressure on the Red and Black when they won their two points to put Tasman in a position where they couldn’t lose the match.


Canterbury’s leading players rallied however to secure a valuable half.


Jordan Bakermans, who recently played well in Argentina finishing runner-up at the Juan Carlos with team-mate Josh Munn, beat fellow New Zealand rep Blair Riordan 1up at the last hole and Canterbury No.2 Owen Burgess beat

Hamish Campbell 3 and 2 to halve the match.


The young promising Northland team got off to a poor start as they lost their match this morning before beating Tasman 3- 2 in round two.


There is still everything to play for at Balmacewen and Waikato and hosts Otago will be happiest with their day one efforts in the national team’s championship.





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