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What promised to be an exciting weekend of matchplay golf lived up to expectations, with all three fixtures being decided by the final groups during the third round of the Metropolitan Senior A series at the weekend.
The Otago B52s and St Clair Saints opened up a six-point gulf on the rest of competition — the B52s lead the Saints by half a game — with tight wins over Taieri Lakes and the Otago Bombers respectively at Balmacewen.
The biggest surprise of the season has been the slow start from the perennial champion Bombers, who are still winless, not helped by the opposition’s desire to rise to the occasion and some key omissions.
A strengthened Chisholm Links team recorded its first win of the season over the St Clair Devils at the beach.
At Balmacewen, the momentum between the Bombers and Saints swung both ways, with the Saints holding the advantage at the turn.
Bombers No6 John McIntee was always in control against Scott Mitchell, before Saints No5 Parker Aluesi responded by beating Murray Edgar, a late replacement for Ben Patston.
The middle games favoured the Bombers — Luke Murdoch erased a four-hole deficit to halve with Matt Crawford, and Tyrone Ratahi beat Ryan Bellamy to give the home side the edge.
But the Saints top order came home stronger. No2 Connor Jamison was handed the match on the final green, with Duncan Croudis unable to buy a par, losing the last four holes, while Saints No1 Jacob Bellamy beat Callum Judkins 1-up to seal a 3½-2½ win to the Saints.
On the back nine, the B52s secured a 3½-2½ victory over Taieri Lakes.
The B52s’ tail began well, with Steve Horn and Will McLachlan recording wins, while No 4 Lewis Harper added a half to the tally over the experienced Ken Shaw, who missed a vital short putt.
Taieri No3 Mark Andrews recorded Taieri’s first win over masters representative Chris Snow to set up a grandstand finish.
Lakes No2 Matt Mercer kept the visitors’ hopes alive, beating Tom Gillan on the 17th, but B52s No1 Andrew Hobbs broke the shackles in a tight game against Ryan Rosevear, winning on the 17th and keeping the B52s unbeaten.
At Chisholm Links, the home team scored a 4-2 win over the Devils, but the result could have gone either way, the final two matches going the distance.
Links skipper Mackenzie Gibson drew first blood over Devils debutant Tom Griffin, before Devils No5 Ryan Littlejohn responded by beating Mike Bowman.
The middle honours went to the home side — Matt Heaton lost the last two holes to halve with Luke Worthington, while Sean Geary beat Jake Bleach on the 17th, giving the Links 2½ games.
At the top, both games went to the last hole all square. Links No2 Kyle Geary halved with Logan Clarke when both players missed makeable putts, and the result was sealed when Devils No1 Callum White failed to get up and down for par, gifting victory to Mike Weastell and the Links team.
- Michael Minty