After two days of play at the Whitford Park Golf Club, the Taranaki team moved to the top of division two, putting themselves into a position to make the semi-finals, something they haven’t achieved in recent times.
Conditions have proved challenging across the first two days of play with the players having to deal with weather delays due to flooded greens.
While Taranaki moved to the top in what looks to be a very close and competitive division two, Auckland and Wellington have both stepped clear in division one of the NZ Men’s Interprovincial Championships.
Auckland recorded an impressive two from two on Wednesday, winning both matches by 3 ½ to 1 ½. Their wins came over Southland in the morning and the Bay of Plenty in the afternoon. Auckland has been well led at the front with their number five and first man out, Josh Leitch winning three from three, all by very comfortable margins.
Wellington also had a good day, taking care of business in the morning with a clinical 5-0 win over Poverty Bay East Coast before a good duel with Waikato took place in the afternoon managing a close 3-2 victory.
Taranaki could be the Cinderella story of the tournament having put themselves in a good position to make the semi-finals for the first time since 1988.
That fact wasn’t far from the team’s number one Sam Jones’ mind after a hard-fought half with Manawatu-Whanganui to remain unbeaten from four games with two wins and two halves.
“I played just the other day with a guy Howard Kennedy who was in the team the last time we made the semis and we spoke about what a long time ago it was, so I’m really excited, two more games left and then the bye, so hopefully keep the undefeated run going,” Jones said.
The Taranaki team have four players from the tiny Taranaki club of Manaia which has only 136 members in the team, a remarkable feat from such a small club, which could prove interesting if they can make the semis.
“I would hate to see what would happen if we made the semi’s, I think we would definitely get a few guys coming up from Mania to watch”, added Jones.
Jones the 2019 New Zealand Men’s Amateur Champion wasn’t feeling the pressure of playing in the key number one position too much.
“I have been battling a little, so I’m just going out and playing and hoping for the best and its been going ok so far, if I keep playing the way I’ll be ok.
The key matchup on the final day of the round-robin will be Taranaki playing Canterbury where a win for Taranaki would see them through.
If they have their first stumble of the week division two will become wide open with Manawatu-Whanganui, Canterbury, Otago all with mathematical chances of making the semis.
More to come.