Otago win 8-man provincial tourney

It was a case of deja vu for the Otago men's side, which was victorious at the South Island Men's 8-man Interprovincial at Christchurch's Waitikiri Golf Club in the weekend.

The victory meant successive South Island wins on Canterbury soil, after the side also won the title in 2014 at Russley Golf Club.

Despite plenty of rain on the Marshland course on Friday, there were fine conditions on Saturday, and Otago got off to the perfect start with a 6-2 win over Aorangi and a 5-3 win over Southland to set themselves up for a positive result on Sunday.

No 6 Ben Patston and No 8 Duncan Croudis recorded two wins for the day, while No 5 Johnny Mackay managed a half and a win to also stay unbeaten.

Meanwhile the other provinces were dealing blows to each other, with Aorangi staging the biggest upset, beating hosts Canterbury 4.5-3.5.

Otago captain Brandon Hodgson said beating arch rivals Canterbury on Sunday was firm in the player's minds; however, with half the side playing different provinces on opposite sides of the course, there was no way of knowing how the matches were going.

At lunch on Sunday victory was in the balance, with the top four all losing to Canterbury's top quartet.

Otago eventually succumbed to the hosts 5.5-2.5.

However, as usual Otago's strength has been its depth, and in this case the tail wagged.

Patston, Croudis and Mackay continued their unbeaten run on Sunday afternoon, ensuring an emphatic 7-1 victory over Tasman and the title win.

Along with Mackay (3 wins and a half), Patston, and Croudis (both 4 wins), Aorangi's top duo of Tim Leonard (4 wins) and Josh Smith (2 wins, 2 halves) were the only other unbeaten players.

The selection panel will now weigh up the performances from the weekend and collate them with the results of the Otago Matchplay Championship at Balmacewen this Labour Weekend.

Some positional changes could be possible before the 5-man team plus travelling reserve is selected for the Toro Interprovincial at Hastings Golf Club at the end of November.

 - Justin Thomas staved off a challenge by Danny Lee to claim his second CJ Cup title in three years with a two-shot win over the Korean-born New Zealander at Nine Bridges in South Korea yesterday.

The overnight leaders were level for 13 holes before Thomas surged ahead with a birdie on the 14th, while Lee bogeyed the 15th and 16th to fade.

 - Michael Minty

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