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Otago remains unbeaten midway through the round robin at the national interprovincial championships at Hastings Golf Club after another tight 3-2 victory over northern neighbour Aorangi yesterday afternoon.
Otago has been joined by Auckland, which also has a perfect record ,at the top of division two on three points after trouncing Waikato 4-1 yesterday afternoon. Otago, which has won two games fewer, is second, while Waikato and Aorangi are half a point behind Otago.
There are five teams separated by only half a point in a pool of death in division one. Unbeaten North Harbour leads on 2.5 points while Northland, Tasman, an unbeaten Canterbury and Manawatu-Whanganui — all on two points — look to be the candidates chasing the two semifinal positions.
Otago had the advantage of fresh legs and a sleep-in after the morning-round bye yesterday before taking on a formidable Aorangi outfit.
It was fitting Aorangi No5 Daniel Perham, playing in his 100th national interprovincial match, drew first blood at the expense of Sungwoo Han who has faced a barrage of experience in his first two days at this level as teams look to stack their experienced players at No5.
Once again, Otago’s middle order resurrected momentum. Ben Patston defeated Jeff Hewitt 7 and 6 to maintain his perfect record and No3 Jonny Mackay downed Cameron Grant 3 and 2.
But Aorangi was not rolling over. The experienced Tim Leonard gave Otago No1 Inia Logan his first loss of the tournament meaning the result hinged on captain Brandon Hodgson, relying on the putter to get himself and the team over the line.
Playing the last 1-up, Hodgson and Josh Smith both scrambled up the last, Hodgson needing to hole a 2.5m par while Smith lay 1.2m from the hole.
As he did against Wellington, Hodgson again shut the door by nailing his putt and securing another 3-2 scoreline.
Otago will be hoping for some scoreboard relief today when it takes on Poverty Bay before the teams take the afternoon off to allow for course maintenance.