IntTasman No.1 Blair Riordan enjoyed his own personal redemption today at the Toro Men’s Interprovincial.



The 22-year-old New Zealand rep, who lost the winner-take-all match with Southland No.1 Vaughan McCall last year for his team to miss the semifinals, was the hero this timearoundas he led Tasman to a dramatic comeback to make the final four at the Otago Golf Club.


Riordan, who won his match with North Harbour No.1 Cam Jones 2up this afternoon, was looking forward to his team’s chance at winning the title for only the second time.


“We are absolutely stoked to make the semi-finals,” said the Srixon Academy member.


“We suffered a lot of heartbreak last year [with the 3-2 loss to Southland in round seven] so it is good to be here.


“We got off to a really poor start this year but from there fired off four really good wins against four really good teams.”


Defending champions Southland hammered Auckland 4 - 1 to top Division One and will play in the first semifinal Bay of Plenty in what will be a repeat on last year’s final.


Meanwhile the underdog Tasman team will face Manawatu / Wanganui who will have the chance to back up their SBS Team’s title after they beat Taranaki 4 – 1 in round seven.


The Tasman team looked dead and buried after two rounds of the championship after a loss and a half but won four straight matches in convincing fashion and be the form team heading into the playoffs.


Riordan said: “The mood in the van was pretty bad on Tuesday night after our start but a quick chat from one of the West Coasters in the team on Wednesday morning got us pretty fired up and ready to go.


“The mindset will be to win five-zip. That has what we have been trying to do the last four matches and it seems to be working. If we don’t win five-zip then we win anyway so that will be the plan.”


“My form has been ok. I have played really well in one round and then been on the wrong side of a couple of 18 holers but all in all I am playing well and looking forward to tomorrow.”


Southland has the chance to defend their title after finishing top of Division One which is a remarkable effort without New Zealand No.1 Vaughan McCall.


“Vaughan who?” said manager Cody Harper in jest, who was also a key member of the Southland team winning at Poverty Bay last year. He believed his team was up for the challenge of going back-to-back.


“The first goal was to make it through to Saturday and then the competition starts again,” said Harper.


“I don’t know if we are favourites. Anyone can win from here as we proved last year. The boys have played unreal again. Scotty Hellier has been outstanding and Tyler McLean has been just as good. I think he shot 64 today so their form has been great at the top and they have beaten many of the New Zealand reps.”


He was sure there would be plenty of feeling in the semifinal with Bay of Plenty who will look to reverse the 3-2 win that Southland managed in 2011 to win the trophy.


“I am sure they do want to have a bit of revenge but we’ll have a quiet one tonight and then come back tomorrow and see what happens.


“The key to the performance this week has just been good golf and the boys playing well for each other.  We work well as a team.”


Northland was the unlucky team in 2012. They had to win both of their matches today, which they did, but were undone by the performance of Tasman.


The best 15 teams in New Zealand are down to four with the national provincial team championship on the line tomorrow at the oldest golf club in New Zealand.


Southland, who won the title for the first time in 60 years, will look to win the title in consecutive years for the first time since Bay of Plenty achieved that in 2008 – 2009.


Bay of Plenty has won six of the past 10 championships at the Interprovincial and they will look to continue that remarkable record and move into share of fourth place on the all-time wins list with Waikato.


Manawatu / Wanganui will try to complete a rare feat in winning both the main team golf trophies in New Zealand – the SBS Invitational and the Toro Men’s Interprovincial – in the same year.


Tasman will be looking to make the most of their remarkable comeback and win for only their second time in the 61 years of the event’s history.




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