Tasman run ends in interprovincial semifinal
Tasman have missed writing a significant new chapter in the province's history following a disappointing semifinal loss at the Toro men's interprovincial golf tournament in Dunedin.
Tasman's stirring run ended on Saturday morning at Balmacewen, beaten 4-1 by Manawatu-Wanganui in their playoff to end a run of four straight wins, including a 3-2 sixth-round victory over eventual champions Bay of Plenty.
The final ended in dramatic fashion, Bay of Plenty eventually claiming their seventh title in 11 years when their No 4 Victor Janin beat Manawatu-Whanganui's Junior Tatana on the second playoff hole after the two teams had finished all square.
Bay of Plenty had also required a playoff to reach the final, Peter Lee winning the battle of the No 2s when he beat Southland's Scott Hellier on the first extra hole.
In Tasman's semifinal, team manager Jeff Riordan said that the players were up for Saturday's contest but came up against a focused Manawatu-Wanganui side.
"We were looking really good after nine, we were up in four and just couldn't hang on really," he said. "Three of the matches went down the last."
Hamish Campbell picked up the team's only win, Tasman's No 2 leading all the way to complete a convincing 5-and-4 victory over Lachie McDonald.
Ryan Chisnall and Nick Ludbrook each suffered their first losses of the week. Both had held one-hole advantages heading into the final nine, No 3 Chisnall dropping the final hole to lose two down to Trent Munn and No 5 Ludbrook also going to the last before losing one down to Hayden Ring.
Blair Riordan dropped the last three holes to lose two down to Josh Munn after Tasman's No 1 had also held a one-hole advantage for most of their contest.
Glenn Drummond, at No 4, was the only Tasman player to be down at the turn, never recovering in his 3-and-2 loss to Tatana.
Nevertheless, Jeff Riordan acknowledged the players' fine efforts in a demanding week that has had them finish among the country's top four provincial teams.
"It's been a great week and the boys played their hearts out.As I said, three of the matches went down the last and we just couldn't finish it off.
"Overall it's been a really good effort and an improvement on last year. We'll just build from there really."
Team captain and No 1 Blair Riordan said that while obviously disappointed at losing the semifinal, the players were still aware of the impressive team effort they'd produced over the five days.
"We were feeling great [before the semifinal]. We still had a lot of fun today. I mean we did pretty well to make the semis after our [first day] start," he said.
Tasman had halved with Canterbury and lost to Northland on day one before reeling off their four straight wins against Otago, Poverty Bay East Coast, Bay of Plenty and North Harbour.
"The boys are still pretty chirpy. There were a lot of near-misses as well [during the week]. We went down the last hole a few times and just didn't quite pull it off."
Riordan was certainly Tasman's busiest player, playing all 18 holes in every round apart from his 3-and-2 fourth-round win over Otago's Brent McEwan which ended at the 16th. However, he said it was the superb efforts of Tasman's lower order that really kept them in the hunt.
"Our three, four and five especially were absolutely fantastic, and the reserve. And we worked the reserve really well with our four and five and gave them breaks at the right time and they were feeling really fresh and ready to go at all times. That was pretty key for us."
With six interprovincial events now behind him, Riordan's future as Tasman's No 1 remains undetermined.
"I'm not sure. I'm planning on turning pro next year, but that's not until just after Toro," he said.
"I'll either play and then turn pro, or . . . I'm undecided, because it's not the best preparation going into a qualifying school tournament.
"Depending on how next year goes, it'll all pan out from there I guess."
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