The four semi-finalists for the Toro NZ Men’s Interprovincial for 2014 have been found after a drama-filled final day of pool play at the Hamilton Golf Club.

Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Waikato and Otago are the teams who will battle it out for the coveted team’s matchplay title tomorrow after the final two rounds had more twists than a Dickens novel.

Waikato will look to advance to their first final since 2006 when they meet Wellington in semi-final one while defending champions Manawatu – Wanganui will face hosts Otago in semi-final two.

Manawatu-Wanganui were the first team to progress when they continued their perfect winning record through six rounds after trouncing Auckland (4.5 – 0.5).

Heading into the final round a total of seven teams could still claim the final three places up for grabs.

Waikato defeated Canterbury (3.5 – 1.5) to the delight of the local club members to book their place in the final four for the first time in more than five years.

Luke Toomey said the overwhelming feeling was relief after delivering on their long heralded potential.

“I must admit I was feeling the pressure going into this week,” said the 21-year-old from the Riverside Golf Club.

“I was obviously very excited because I thought this was our best chance that we have had in a long time to get to Saturday. I have been to the semis since being involved in this team which goes back to

2009 so it’s a special feeling.”

Toomey said the clutch wins over Otago and Canterbury in the final day of pool play would give the hosts a huge amount of confidence as they look to win the title for the first time since 2006.

“You can never get too excited in this format. While we are running on a high at the moment and we have all the momentum, we still need to turn up to the first tee tomorrow and think about hitting the fairway. This tournament isn’t over yet and two more wins and this week will be one worth remembering.”

The New Zealand Stroke Play Champion was pinching himself at the size of the gallery as he watched the Waikato match finish on the 18th.

“It is quite surreal actually. I didn’t notice how many people were here until you mentioned it. To see how much people care when you put some much work in as a team is quite humbling. To see all these people here is awesome and it helps us play better. Hopefully there will be more tomorrow.”

His team-mate Denzel Ieremia was impressive again as he defeated Canterbury’s JJ Love 4 and 2.

“It is awesome for us to achieve this goal and all the boys are really looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.

The Manawatu team, who are looking to win back to back for their province for the first time since 1954 – 55, went on to finish top of Division One when they came from behind to halve with

Wellington (2.5-2.5).

Lachie McDonald, who has been solid in the middle order for his side, said the team was thrilled to have a chance to defend their title.

“We came into the week as one of the teams to beat and this was always our goal to make the semi-finals so it nice to get it done,” said the left-hander.

McDonald said the team will take a huge amount of confidence from their flawless run this week and also the memories from the win 12 months ago.

“We are still unbeaten and it is nice to have that momentum. We did what we needed to do and it is nice to follow up last year after the success at North Shore.

“It gives us the confidence that we can do it. We know what to expect because we have been here before. We know what needs to be done and that will help a lot under pressure.”

First up, will be getting past an Otago side who defeated Bay of Plenty to earn their place.

“It doesn’t really matter who we play. All of the teams are really solid and there are no easy matches. The Otago team is stacked full of good players and we know that they will be up for it. So will we.”

Brent McEwan has some history with the Hamilton Golf Club. Fifteen years ago he made his debut for Otago as an 18-year-old at No.3 and he has played in the same spot this week with great success.

Today, he was impressive as he won 2 and 1 to get the points against Bay of Plenty.

“It is an awesome feeling to make the semis,” said McEwan.

“We have a good young team and they are playing really well. We are stoked. We have got to still keep the mind focused and know that we go into tomorrow with nothing to lose.”

McEwan said defeating a team like Bay of Plenty who have such an outstanding record at this level was a huge boost to the belief.

“We were battling there for a while and most of the boys came through and played great. We are stoked we have been on the losing end to Bay of Plenty five or six times so it is nice to get one over on them.

“We are focused on enjoying this now and then moving on to know that the job is still only half done. We have nothing to lose as no one really expects us to be here. But if we keep focused and play well, we have a good chance.

“They are very talented boys, most people don’t realise how good they are, they believe in themselves and that really showed today when we needed it most.”

Wellington, the most successful team in the history of the Toro Interprovincial, earned their place when they halved with Manawatu Wanganui.

Meanwhile up on 18, Northland’s Kadin Neho missed a birdie chance to halve with Tae Koh which would have seen Northland get through.

That loss saw the team from the capital advance to the semi-finals for the second successive year.

“We had no idea what was going on out there so we are pretty relieved to make it through,” said Wellington No.3 Marc Jennings.

“Dan [Hillier] playing at No.4 hasn’t lost a match yet which is a pretty special effort on debut. He is going great for us.”

The 13-time champions feel like that they will have a part to play on the final day.

“We are really excited about tomorrow. We are lucky to get a chance I guess so we are happy to have a go at it. We feel like we let ourselves down so we’re looking to make up for that tomorrow.”

“We line well against Waikato I think. We beat them last year so we will back ourselves. We can’t wait to get into it.”

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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