Our team of Jason Leary, Nigel Heney, Regan Stills, Blair Franklin, Owen Miller and Ray Grant competed outstandingly at the recent NZ Golf Freyberg Masters tournament at the Taupo GC.
The team began the tournament with a good win against Otago 3.5-1.5 and a solid half against Hawkes Bay. At this stage it would appear that Auckland, Manganui /Wanganui and Tasman could be the teams to beat.
Going into Tuesday, Aorangi had the bye in the third round and in the afternoon round four saw them come against a very strong Northland side. Defeating Northland 3-2 put the team well up the order.
Wednesday was to be a crunch day with the favourites Auckland meeting Canterbury and Tasman playing Northland. Aorangi needed at least one win this day but came up against Waikato in the morning. The team went down 3-2 with Leary and Stills having wins. At this stage Regan Stills was unbeaten at Number 3, an awesome feat with many of his matches coming down to the wire.
This loss would now put enormous pressure on the team. Three teams at this stage remained unbeaten, Auckland, Mang/Wang and Tasman.
Thursday and round six, Aorangi were to come up against the strong, unbeaten Tasman team. All games were close and in the end a loss 3-2 came down to a single putt.
As with many of the matches, great solid performances by our players were played, but losses were coming down to “ the putt on the last”. This round saw Auckland beaten by Northland and had our team managed a victory against Tasman, things could have been so different.
Round seven saw Auckland meet tournament favourite Mang/Wang. Aorangi beat Southland 3.5-1.5, a well-timed win. All players were playing great golf, with Stills unbeaten and some solid wins from Franklin and Leary.
However round 8 was to prove to be the most disappointing.Going into the game against local foes Canterbury, the team felt strong and confident. But it wasn’t to be and the team went down 4-1 with Miller having the only win. This loss and the subsequent last round defeat by Mang/ Wang saw Aorangi slip back to tenth place.
The outcome of the Mang/Wang game showed just how strong our team was performing. Playing the tournament winner in the final round and only going down 3-2 with all games going to the last two holes.
Winners were Manganui/Wanganui . Probably the most disappointing story was the Tasman team, who just couldn’t keep their winning streak going, losing to Waikato and a half against Auckland, putting them in second place. How good it would have been to see a South Island team on the Victory Podium.
Maybe next year this could be Aorangi’s with the tournament played at home in the 2019 Freyberg Masters at Timaru Golf Club.
Aorangi Golf should be very proud of our team’s performance. The competition was at a high level, with some extremely strong individuals playing at masters level this year.
Tenth position did not do justice to a good, strong and united side.
The Association would like to thank our team for the great effort and commitment put into this week of golf, representing our region.
Also Good Luck to Regan Stills and Nigel Heney who are also competing in the 2018 NZ Golf Toro Interprovincials at Clearwater this week.