Southland squeak past Otago

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012

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An outstanding week from Robyn Pullar helped the Southland women's golf team improve two places on last year's performance at the 2012 interprovincial tournament in Dunedin.

The Southland No 1 had 4 wins for the week, against some of the best amateur golfers in the country, giving the team a solid start to their campaign, which finished with a countback victory over Otago on Saturday.

"It was very satisfying, I think," manager Robyn Boniface said.

"It just showed in the number of games that we got during the week that we were playing a lot better than we have in the past. I think we were pretty special to have the only 5-nil win of the tournament, and the only half of the tournament. We are two spots up from where we were last year, so if we can get another two up the ladder next year that will be good."

Southland claimed ninth place overall after a narrow countback victory over Otago.

Arrowtown's Laura Hoskin beat Pullar 2/1, while Southland's Angela Gerken squared her match with Jo Hicks-Beach.

Olivia Frost and Kerry Mariu both beat their Otago opponents with 4/2 wins, but Bronwyn O'Brien was beaten 8/7 by Otago's Susan Greig.

With the match tied, officials had to look back earlier in the week to find a winner, with both teams having secured two wins during divisional play.

Southland's 15 individual wins to Otago's 14 handed them the victory.

"It was so close, we looked like we had the upper hand but then ended up with a half, which was OK because I knew we had more wins than them [for the week] - the players didn't know that, but they didn't need to know that," Boniface said.

"It would have been nice to get over the line and beat them properly but it was good for everyone and probably quite appropriate, really."

Otago had earlier secured a surprise win over Canterbury which knocked the red-and-blacks out of semifinal contention.

"It was only that upset win over Canterbury that got them up there," Boniface said. "It's a bit unfortunate that you end up playing your close neighbours but that's the way the cookie crumbles. It was a good result for them [against Canterbury] and it shows that the smaller districts can compete with the bigger ones."

Auckland beat Bay of Plenty 3-2 to advance to the final, where they met Wellington, 3-2 winners over Waikato in the other semifinal.

Canterbury secured fifth place with a 3.5-1.5 win over Manawatu/Whanganui and Taranaki claimed seventh with a 3-2 win over North Harbour.

Hawke's Bay finished 11th with a 4-1 win over Northland, while Aorangi consigned Tasman to the wooden spoon with a 4-1 win in their playoff.

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Auckland beat Wellington 3-2 in one of the most closely contested finals since the tournament began in 1949, a hole in one by Auckland No 4 Brittney Dryland helping to swing the momentum Auckland's way after it looked like Wellington were cruising to the title.

Wellington's heartache in the event continues. They have not won the title since 1992. This was the third time Wellington had made the final since the format change in 1999.

In 2001, they lost 3-2 to Waikato King Country and in the following year went down 3- 2 to North Harbour.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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