Altered format favours locals
Marlborough's leading senior, masters and junior golfers host their counterparts from Nelson and West Coast this weekend as a new quadrangular fixture is held at the Marlborough club in Fairhall.
In previous years this fixture has been a triangular, involving eight seniors, masters and juniors from all three regions. However, mainly because of financial reasons, it has changed.
From now on, the fixture will include four teams, two from Nelson and one each from Marlborough and West Coast. And instead of eight players in each division, teams will be made up of six seniors, four masters and four juniors.
Marlborough have not prevailed over Nelson for several years and last year in the triangular fixture finished second behind the host region in Nelson.
But, with the new format, their chances of success could be boosted. Marlborough selector Kerry Fyfe said Nelson looked to have split their strength and picked two relatively even teams, while he was optimistic home course advantage would also play a significant role.
Rarangi's Brook Hale will play at the top of the card for the senior side, followed by Marlborough's Steve McCaa and Aaron Reid from Kaikoura. Talented Rarangi youngster Dale Rutledge is at No 4, with Marlborough duo Duncan Hille and Simon Bishell rounding out the side. All six players have been in good form, with Bishell unbeaten in interclub this season and Reid five-under-par for 36 holes in the final two rounds of the MacDonald Cup at Awatere last weekend.
Fyfe was also upbeat about the prospects of a strong Marlborough masters group. The form of No 1 and No 2 players Blair Bavin and Lyell Marfell meant they could easily have played in the senior team, he said.
Marfell's brother, Duncan, and Tere Poa round out the side.
Chas Craig and Matt Howard, who both made their Marlborough senior team debuts in the narrow loss to Wellington last month, lead the way for the Marlborough juniors. Brad Dickson and Zac Norton are at No 3 and 4.
With one extra team competing this year, the format for the event has also changed. Previously each player played a straight and reverse singles against the two other teams for a total of four rounds of matchplay. This weekend, each player will play just a straight singles against their three rivals for a total of three matchplay rounds. Two rounds are set to be played tomorrow, with the final round played on Sunday morning. MARLBOROUGH TEAM (in playing order)
Seniors: Brook Hale, Steve McCaa, Aaron Reid, Dale Rutledge, Duncan Hille, Simon Bishell.
Masters: Blair Bavin, Lyell Marfell, Duncan Marfell, Tere Poa.
Juniors: Chas Craig, Matt Howard, Brad Dickson, Zac Norton.
The Marlborough Express