Golf: Otago's fate in balance after loss to Bay of Plenty

Otago's Brandon Hodgson follows the flight of his tee shot on the seventh hole during  round five of the interprovincial championships at Balmacewen yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Otago's Brandon Hodgson follows the flight of his tee shot on the seventh hole during round five of the interprovincial championships at Balmacewen yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Otago must beat Northland this afternoon and then hope results go its way, to make the semifinals of the interprovincial championships at the Otago Golf Club.

Otago failed to fire yesterday, beaten 3.5 to 1.5 by a tough Bay of Plenty side, which is shaping as the team to beat in the tournament.

Just one round was played yesterday, as teams had the afternoon off.

The only victor for the home side was No 4 Brandon Hodgson, who finished one-up over Victor Janin.

Brent McEwan squared his match with Brad Kendall but it was a point lost by the Otago No 1.

He was a hole up with two to play and put in a massive drive to finish in a great position, just short of the green on the eighth hole. Games had started on the 10th hole.

But McEwan played a poor chip shot, while Kendall made a great shot from the rough to win the hole. They could not be separated on the last hole.

The three other Otago golfers had no answer to a Bay of Plenty team which had accuracy in the fairways and made the putts.

Otago No 5 Tony Giles was beaten 4 and 3 by Landyn Edwards, No 3 Samson Kim was beaten 7 and 6 by Sam Davis, and No 2 Michael Smith was beaten 4 and 3 by Peter Lee.

Hodgson said his round was a bit all over the place.

''It was a bit up and down and a real roller coaster ride. I was three up after three holes and he fought back really hard, winning four holes with a couple of birdies and pars,'' he said.

''I'm starting to find a bit of length with my driver, which is my game round here.''

Hodgson said the team was probably feeling the effects of five games in a row.

''Overall, I think guys are a bit tired. A bit deflated. We've played five games in a row and it is starting to have an impact.

''But we need to go away and have a rest and then get ready for tomorrow. We need to get up against Northland and then we should go close.''

Bay of Plenty coach Jay Carter said he was pleased with his charges and the match had gone pretty much to plan.

''It is always pretty good to beat the home team on their own patch. But we had developed a pretty good game plan round here and it worked.

''It was about being patient, being well organised and it felt like we had to get on with the job.''

He said the middle players in his team were performing well.

''Guys are just coming into form and no-one is playing out of their skin just yet.''

Bay of Plenty is the only unbeaten team and looks set to be one of the division two semifinalists.

Otago is second, just half a point ahead of Tasman.

Otago has this morning off. It must hope Tasman loses to Bay of Plenty this morning, and then have a big win itself, over Northland.

Tasman plays North Harbour in the afternoon. Northland could sneak through, if it wins well in both its games today.

In the other division, Manawatu-Wanganui put itself into contention with a 3-2 win over previously unbeaten Southland.

Southland, Manawatu-Wanganui, Auckland and Wellington are on three points. Southland is top, courtesy of winning more individual games.

Southland plays Wellington this morning and then takes on Auckland in the afternoon, which should decide the semifinalists.

Semifinals and the final are played tomorrow.