Golf: Otago and Waikato make perfect start

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

The weather was fine 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 No2 Michael Smith who won both of his matches comfortably.

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.

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 No1 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 No3 Ryan Chisnall and No4 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 one-up at the last hole and Canterbury No2 Owen Burgess beat Hamish Campbell 3 and 2 to halve the match.

The young promising Northland team got off to a poor start this morning but won 3-2 this afternoon over Tasman.

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.


Toro Men's Interprovincial Round One and Two Scores - Otago Golf Club, Dunedin

Round One Scores:

Taranaki 3 Aorangi 2

Brad Hayward bt Cameron Grant 5/4, Jaime Reid bt Jordan Green 5/4, Zac Lewis bt Garth Simpson 5/4, Joseph Doyle lost to Damian Rodgers 2up, Brook Gray bt George Wardell 4/3

North Harbour 4 Northland 1

Cam Jones bt Luke Brown 2up, Kevin Budden lost to Alex Neely 2up, James Davis bt Chase McKeown 1up, David Feeny bt Sean Masters 1up, Jason Gulasekharam bt Brad Bonnington 5/3

Wellington 3 Manawatu/Wanganui 2

Marc Jennings bt Josh Munn 5/4, Fraser McLachlan bt Lachie McDonald 2/1, James Donnelly lost to Trent Munn 2/1, Adam Church lost to Junior Tatana 1down, Peter Brinsdon bt Hayden Ring 2up

Waikato 4 Hawkes Bay 1

Compton Pikari lost to Richard Squire 1down, Luke Toomey bt Ben Swinburne 4/3, Tom Brockelsby bt Russell Mitchell 4/2, Ho Jun Sung bt Max Gill 3/2, Steven Kuggeleijn bt Madison Noakes 1up

Otago 5 Poverty Bay East Coast 0

Brent McEwan bt Steven Donnelly 4/3, Michael Smith bt Andrew Higham 5/4, Samson Kim bt William Brown 1up, Brandon Hodgson bt Ruel Pedersen 6/5, Tony Giles bt Matthew Mackey 5/4

Canterbury 2 Tasman 2

Jordan Bakermans bt Blair Riordan 1up, Owen Burgess bt Hamish Campbell 3/2, Harry Bateman lost to Ryan Chisnall 1down, Nic Kay lost to Glen Drummond 1down, Tom Turner halved with Nick Ludbrook

Round Two Scores:

Auckland 4 Hawkes Bay 1

Sam An bt Richard Squire 2/1, Nick Voke bt Ben Swinburne 3/2, Tae Koh lost to Russell Mitchell 2/1, Jonathan Ratcliffe bt Madison Noakes 7/6, Josh Leitch bt Carlos Tawera 1up

Otago 3 North Harbour2

Brent McEwan bt Cam Jones 4/3, Michael Smith bt Kevin Budden 3/2, Samson Kim bt James Davis 5/4, Brandon Hodgson lost to David Feeney 2/1, Tony Giles lost to Jason Gulasekharam 2/1

Waikato 4 Taranaki 1

Compton Pikari bt Brad Hayward 2/1, Luke Toomey lost to Jaime Reid 1up, Tom Brockelsby bt Zac Lewis 2/1, Ho Jun Sung bt Joseph Doyle 3/2, Steven Kuggeleijn bt Brook Gray 2up

Southland 5 Aorangi 0

Tyler McLean bt Cameron Grant 2/1, Scott Hellier bt Jordan Green 6/5, Liam Balneaves bt Garth Simpson 5/4, Jeremy Hall bt Damian Rodgers 5/4, Matt Tautari bt George Wardell 3/2

Bay of Plenty 4 Poverty Bay EC 1

Brad Kendall bt Steven Donnelly 5/3, Peter Lee Andrew Higham 2/1, Sam Davis William Brown 7/6, Victor Janin Ruel Pedersen 1up, Landyn Edwards lost to Matthew Mackey 1down

Northland 3 Tasman 2

Luke Brown bt Blair Riordan 1up, Alex Neely bt Hamish Campbell 1up, Chase McKeown lost to Ryan Chisnall 5/3, Sean Masters bt Glenn Drummond 2/1, Nick Ludbrook lost to 2/1 Kadin Neho