Southland on track to defend their title

Last updated 05:00 06/12/2012

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Two solid wins over Hawke's Bay and Waikato will see Southland golfers go into day three of the Toro Interprovincial unbeaten as the tournament continues at Balmacewen in Dunedin today.

The defending champion team, which includes Tyler McLean, Scott Hellier, Liam Balneaves, Jeremy Hall and Matt Tautari, started the tournament well with a 5-0 win over Aorangi on Tuesday. Southland continued that winning form yesterday, putting on two impressive displays to beat Hawke's Bay 4-1 in the morning and a strong Waikato team 3 - 1 in the afternoon.

While the scores look good on paper, what looks even better is the way the team performed when the games got tight and on-course manager Cody Harper has been pleased with the full team performance.

"They got off to another good start in the morning [yesterday]. Hawke's Bay fought back well though and it got very close, but the short game magic from Liam, and some big hitting from Tyler got the job done," he said.

"It was good to have a tight match because the afternoon's play got pretty intense.

"Through seven holes they were looking really good and were cruising really, but a few got to all square, or 1 up through 12, and it got very, very close.

"Liam and Scott cruised in at the end, so having two games in the bag definitely helped.

"Waikato are a very strong team so to get through a tight match like that is great," Harper said yesterday.

McLean squared his afternoon match with Waikato's Compton Pikari yesterday, while Hellier's 4/2 win over Tom Brockelsby and Balneaves' 5/4 win over Ho Jun Sung helped seal the deal for Southland.

Hall won 2-up and Tautari was narrowly beaten by Nick Coxon.

McLean, Hellier, Balneaves and Hall have not lost a game yet and Harper is crediting a full team effort for its success in the tournament so far.

Wellington is also unbeaten in the tournament so far, while Otago's unbeaten run came to a sharp end yesterday afternoon when it lost to Tasman 5-0.

The tournament culminates in finals on Saturday.

Southland will play Manawatu/Wanganui this morning in round five.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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