Island Park to host closing tournament

A change of scheduling means the curtain for the 2019 Otago order of merit is set to fall at the Island Park Golf Club this weekend.

There is plenty at stake for those competing in the Island Park nines - either to leapfrog into a top-five Otago order of merit position, or getting some preparation for the Toro tournament, to take place later this month at the Hastings Golf Club.

It is a big coup for the Waldronville club to be the first nine-hole club to stage an order of merit event after it shifted the Waitangi weekend tournament because of club volunteer availability. In recent years, the tournament has been effectively run by the players.

This weekend, a full field of 32 is likely and with Dunedin's ongoing temperamental spring, players can expect no sympathy off the tee or around the approaches. Slick greens and long, niggly rough will test the short games of Otago's best golfers.

Last year's Wray Cup winner Duncan Croudis will be lining up to defend his title, while the Dore Cup for the plate is always hotly contested, as some big names often bow out in the first round and look for redemption.

The format will remain largely the same with some minor changes. Today's qualifying has been extended to an 18-hole gross stableford.

The only other change is players having to putt out or concede on the sudden death chip off green during tomorrow's round robin play.

With six players potentially set for a maximum of 45 holes for Sunday's match-play, the tournament is becoming one of attrition.

Weather could play its part, although it is expected to be fine and warm, a change from what has hit Dunedin recently.

How players manage themselves throughout the final day will be crucial.

As with the usual timetable of play, the club will once again run an all-day barbecue at the turn for players, to ensure they are well nourished.

- By Michael Minty

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