Bay of Plenty and Manawatu-Wanganui are in ominous form heading into the final two rounds of the Toro New Zealand Men’s Interprovincial at the Hamilton Golf Club.


The Blue and Golds, who have an enviable record in the event winning seven out of the past 11 years, beat Southland 3.5 – 1.5 today to all-but secure their place in the final four from Division Two.


The 2013 finalists have a perfect winning record after five rounds and will face Canterbury and Otago tomorrow as they look to finish the top of Division Two.

“The team is feeling good,” said Bay of Plenty’s Hayden Beard.

“We have a good tough two matches tomorrow so we will take time off this afternoon to relax after a long few days.”

Beard, who defeated Southland’s Scott Hellier 2 and 1, said that St Andrews is a great place to hold this event and his team is enjoying the challenge.

“It is demanding down the stretch so we are just taking each match as it comes and if at the end of the week we are in the finals then we will approach it the same way we have in the earlier rounds.”

Beard said the reason for Bay of Plenty’s success at this event is down to two things; a lot of participation in golf and a great all year round climate for golf.

“This allows more competitive tournaments for players at a developing level giving the area significant depth of good players. Not to mention good development programs created by BOP golf and associated clubs.”

While the Bay kept on winning, one of the talking points on the half day of the event was on the other side of the draw as Auckland upset Wellington.

The team from the capital, who had a perfect winning record heading into today, lost by 3 – 2 at a crucial stage of the championship.

The top three for Auckland Tae Koh, Josh Leitch and James Eng secured the points to get the Blue and Whites over the line.

“We kept on grinding and got away with it in the end,” said Koh, the 19-year-old from Manukau Golf Club.

“We are still in it. We have had a loss and a half. That loss might be costly but we have just got to play tomorrow as well as we can and try to win by a big margin. Hopefully it is enough to sneak into the semi-finals.

“From here on in it is pretty much do or die for us. This could be my last Toro so I would really like to win one with this team.”

Tasman’s dream of winning the event faded when they were also upset by Hawkes Bay (3-2) in round five.

While Wellington and Tasman lost their way, Otago also lost some of their momentum. The team, who hasn’t won the title since 1982, halved a tight battle with Taranaki to drop points at a crucial time.

Otago have a tough final day when they face hosts Waikato and then Bay of Plenty with those matches going to decide the semi-finalists from Division Two.

The home team, who were still mulling over their close loss to Bay of Plenty yesterday, had their bye today and had to sit and watch as their rivals kept on winning.

Defending champions Manawatu – Wanganui, who were held by Northland to a half in round four, also remained undefeated when they overcame North Harbour 4 - 1.

Manawatu – Wanganui’s dream of going back to back since 1954 – 55 remains alive as they are feeling good about their chances.

Joshua Munn got off to a fast start – he was three under through five holes to be three up – and he never relinquished to beat Jason Gulasekharam 5 and 3.

“I saw on the board on five that all the boys were going well and it got me pumped up a bit,” said the 23-year-old from the Manawatu Golf Club.

Munn said the experience of contending and winning the championship last year at North Shore should prove invaluable in the final two days.

“We all know what it feels like to be in that situation when you are in the semi-finals and final and we love it so much. We just want to get back there.”

He explained what the feeling is like playing for the Toro NZ Men’s interprovincial title.

“It is just awesome. It is pretty much why most of us play golf. You get those goose bump feelings. When you are under the gun and when you pull it off there is no better feeling and it is just awesome.”

The Toro NZ Men’s Interprovincial is a teams’ matchplay contest with the top five golfers from the 15 provinces around New Zealand competing over seven rounds.

There are two divisions based on the previous year’s results and the final day of the event there are semi-finals and a final to decide the champion.

The Toro NZ Women’s Interprovincial will follow the men’s event from December 9 – 13 at the Riverside Golf Club.



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