HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE TORO NZ WOMEN’S INTERPROVINCIAL

19/12/2013

The Muriwai Golf Club was an excellent host of the 2013 Toro NZ Women’s Interprovincial last week. New Zealand Golf Media and PR Manager Peter Thornton looks back on the highs and lows of one of the standout weeks on the national golfing calendar.

 

Auckland’s dominance: It was probably the most complete performance ever seen at the Toro NZ Women’s Interprovincial. The Blue and Whites defeated Bay of Plenty 5 - 0 in the final to finish the week with 36.5 from a possible 40 points on offer. Auckland, who had two players Wenyung Keh and Brittney Dryland with perfect winning records, made a statement at Muriwai. They won the title for the third time in succession and extended their record number of wins in the event to 22 since the team’s match-play competition began back in 1950. They became the first team to win three in a row in 30 years since Bay of Plenty – Thames Valley who completed the feat in 1981 – 1983. It was the perfect way to send off manager Kaye Carroll who has been a loyal servant to the province for the past 10 years. Will Auckland continue its dominance without her off-the-wall input? We will see in 2014 at Lochiel.

You win some, you draw some: It is not often you have two players in the winning side with a perfect winning record. Auckland’s Wenyung Keh and Brittney Dryland were exceptional at Muriwai. But even more than that - they have been consistently excellent over a period of time. Keh, who managed an eight from eight record at Whakatane two years ago, was unlucky to not receive the Player of the Tournament losing out to Lydia Ko. Over the past three Toro’s Keh has managed a 20.5 out of 24 individual points to be a standout and Dryland is unbeaten from 16 matches. Quite incredible really.

Bay of Plenty’s fighting quality: There was no doubt that the score-line of the final flattered the defending champions. Bay of Plenty showed plenty of fight and character and could have delivered an upset. At the halfway stage BOP were within touch in all of the matches before Auckland broke away to secure the title. The fighting quality of the BOP team was summed up best by No.5 Susan Lines. She was 1down heading down the last in her crucial match against North Harbour’s Ela Grimwood in the semifinal and she delivered a brilliant shot into the 18th to force extra holes. When the semifinal finished all square Lines again came up with the magic with a great approach to the first. BOP showed why they are the second most successful team in the competition’s history: they never give up.

Hawkes Bay’s resurgence: Hawkes Bay – Poverty Bay making the semifinals was a special achievement. It was believed that it was the first time the Black and Whites had made the final four for more than 10 years. They came up against Auckland and were convincingly beaten but it didn’t matter. When Bay of Plenty defeated host North Harbour to make the final it meant that Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay went home with the third place medal. They were rapt. Manager Sue Sowerby, who was in charge of the team for the first time, pointed out that in one year they went from finishing 11th at St Clair to third at Muriwai. That is a great turnaround and their team can look back on a week to be proud of with Kate Chadwick, Jaimie McIver and Angela Jones standout performers. They certainly enjoyed their win over Wellington and backed it up in the clutch match against Manawatu – Wanganui.

The moments of magic: North Harbour’s Ela Grimwood looked dead and buried in her vital match with Canterbury rival Fiona Gebbie. She birdied the 15th hole to get back to 2down. She then went onto birdie the 17th hole to be 1down heading down the last. Grimwood halved her match by winning the final hole in the most extraordinary way. She holed her approach shot from 136m for eagle to finish all square. North Harbour won 3 – 2 and that was the crucial win that saw them make the semifinals. Meanwhile on the same day Canterbury No.5 Kate Turner made a name for herself when she had the second hole in one of her career at the par 3 17th. Turner hit a nine iron to hole her shot to the 102m hole and was toasted later that night in the clubhouse by the ladies. Nice work!

The weather: For the whole week it was perfect. The sun was shining and there was just a gentle north-west breeze over the Muriwai Golf Club. It was ideal conditions for golf. It is not often that a tournament which runs over five days doesn’t take any rain. The week before at North Shore the weather was the total opposite and made the tournament a marathon and a real challenge. It was good to finish the tournament season on a high in brilliant weather.

The work of the Muriwai Golf Club: The team at Muriwai is well seasoned to staging big events. They have staged the Muriwai Open on The Charles Tour four years in a row and it has been a huge success. President Malcolm Cooper rallied the troops superbly and the scoring ran like a well-oiled machine. Special mention here to the catering and bar staff who made sure the clubhouse was always a hive of activity with plenty to eat and drink. Manager Ray Barnett makes things happen and the course superintendent Frank Redman, who is among the most relaxed in the country, delivers a truly pure links layout.

The after-match function: Phil Aickin, Tournament Director, take a bow. His dance to YMCA with the Wellington team brought the house down. I haven’t seen moves like, since, well, ever. It is not surprising that the video has gone viral on Facebook and Phil’s social calendar has gone from empty to a party invite every night since. The women’s final night dinner is known for being a night of frivolity and hilarity and once again it didn’t disappoint. Every year the ladies work towards outdoing the year before and they nailed it. The dancing, the karaoke, the dressing up… it was an impressive and rowdy way to close out the week.

The unwavering support of Parkland Products: I said this for the High and Lows of the Men but it is worth repeating…Parkland Products, who have supported the event for more than 10 years through their leading brand Toro, have been loyal supporters of this event. It is a great tournament for any sponsor to be aligned with as they media coverage of the event is significant. We are hugely appreciative of Chris Todd and his company’s support of this event. The brand Toro is now synonymous with golf in this country and one of the best tournaments of the year.

 

 

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