Munn keeps his promise
For Trent Munn, everything came together in the practice round at the national interprovincial and he told himself he was going through the week unbeaten.
The Manawatu Golf Club's 18-year-old did precisely that, even if Manawatu-Wanganui were destined to lose the final to Bay of Plenty on a second extra hole.
In Munn's eight matches, his only blemish was a halved match against Taranaki and that took a 3-metre down hill putt on the last green. Had the team won the title for the first time since 1964, he would have been the player of the tournament.
Instead it went to national amateur finalist, BOP No 2 Peter Lee, who had the same record but got the trophy when his team won - for the seventh time in 11 outings.
"We were still pretty proud of ourselves," Munn said.
"It was a bit of a stink feeling afterwards. We won the SBS [Southland Invitational] this year, so we can't be too greedy."
It was Manawatu-Wanganui's seventh time in the semifinals, but the first time in the final under this format.
Munn set out to be steady on the hilly Balmacewan course, because pars could win holes there.
"I was confident as soon as I got there, just like Wanganui."
That was a reference to his win on the similarly tortuous Belmont course in the Wanganui Open. And while many holes at Otago were exposed to the wind, the Manawatu-Wanganui players were accustomed to that.
Against Southland and Auckland, Munn had only one bogey all day.
He swallowed painkillers each day following his wrist injury. That had its benefits, like a good break from golf and time in the gym to strengthen up.
"Losing to Wellington on the first day was the wakeup call," he said. "That let us know what we needed to do, and we did it."
They did not lose another game, even the final which was halved before poor Junior Tatana had to go out and play the deciders, the extra holes, just as Josh Munn had done at Southland.
There had been a momentary flutter in the semifinal against Tasman, when they trailed in all of the matches before they stormed back over the last five to win 4-1.
Manawatu-Wanganui could easily have won the final in regulation, with Tatana making a birdie to go 1-up with the final hole to play, and No 1 Trent Munn and No 5 Hayden Ring having already won. But a costly double bogey halved the match and Tatana and Victor Janin, the two No 4s, had to go out and play the extra hole.
They halved the par-5 first in pars before Janin, on the second playoff hole, hit his approach shot to within 1.5 metres of the hole. Tatana's chip shot finished 4m short and when he missed his par, Janin made his birdie putt.
Final: Bay of Plenty 2 Manawatu 2
Bradley Kendall bt Josh Munn 2/1, Peter Lee bt Lachie McDonald 4 /3, Sam Davis lost to Trent Munn 2/1, Victor Janin halved with Junior Tatana*, Landyn Edwards lost to Hayden Ring 2dn.
*Janin won on second extra playoff hole.
Semifinals: Bay of Plenty 2½ Southland 2½
Brad Kendall lost to Tyler McLean 1dn, Peter Lee* halved with Scott Hellier, Sam Davis bt Liam Balneaves 3/2, Victor Janin bt Jeremy Hall 3/2, Landyn Edwards lost to Matt Tautari 2/1
*Lee beat Hellier on the first playoff hole for BOP to win
Manawatu-Wanganui 4 Tasman 1
Josh Munn bt Blair Riordan 2up, Lachie McDonald lost to Hamish Campbell 5/4, Trent Munn bt Ryan Chisnall 2up, Junior Tatana bt Glenn Drummond 3/2, Hayden Ring bt Nick Ludbrook 1up
How they fared:Josh Munn 4 wins, 2 halves, 2 losses. Lachie McDonald 2 wins, 2 halves, 4 losses. Trent Munn 7 wins, 1 half. Junior Tatana 5 wins, 1 half, 2 losses. Hayden Ring 5 wins, 3 losses.