Nines organisers seek to match last year's

Entries for the 2018 Island Park nines are open and organisers hope the February 3-4 tournament will reach the heights of last year's inaugural match play event.

The format will remain largely the same, with a nine-hole gross Stableford qualifying on Saturday afternoon followed by a chip-off to determine ties for seedings.

The only changes to Sunday's match play are alternate tees, meaning the back nine will feature back-to-back par 5s and the shortened par 3 11th.

Finalists will putt out at the chipping green should the match go the distance.

Those knocked out in the first round will play for the Dore Cup, donated by member Malcolm Dore, in a flights section.

The prize pool has been increased thanks to the support from local businesses, with the winner receiving $850 in vouchers.

Last year's tournament exceeded expectations despite the small field and everyone qualifying. It is hoped a quality field of at least 32 will be attracted to fill the match play board and early indications suggest that should be achieved, given there are no clashes with Waitangi weekend or Otago or Southland strokeplay events.

Brent McEwan will be back to defend the Wray Cup, despite his golf having taken a back seat as he pursued higher honours on the bowling green,

The four finalists found the final matches a battle of attrition last year on what was a mild, muggy weekend. McEwan started slowly, recording a modest 18 gross Stablefords, qualifying fifth, but found his rhythm as the tournament progressed.

His gripping final against John McIntee will be fresh in the memory of on-course patrons. McIntee holed a 5m putt on the last to take the championship match to the chip-off before McEwan stiffed his chip for the title.

The tournament should provide a good hit-out for those involved in the metropolitan senior A pennant series, which begins in March.

To enter, contact the club.

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