Canterbury reel from shock golf loss
The Canterbury golf team are all but out of the national provincial teams championship after an embarrassing loss to Northland.
In the 44 years of records available, Canterbury had never lost to Northland. Until yesterday.
A sole half in that time is all the men from the far north have to their name from nearly half a century of trying.
The shocking loss leaves Canterbury - one of the tournament favourites - relying on a series of other unlikely results to go their way if they are to progress to the semifinals.
As well as that, series results shaping up the way they need - Canterbury have to win their remaining two games, one of which is against the unbeaten Bay of Plenty side.
With three of the top 10 players in the 90-man field, according to New Zealand Golf's Order of Merit standings, Canterbury were expected to at least make the semifinals as they did at last year's tournament in Gisborne.
They had their backs to the wall going into yesterday's match at Dunedin's Balmacewen course having only picked up a win and a half from their first three matches.
Needing a win, Canterbury were poor from the outset.
After six holes, only No 1 Jordan Bakermans was ahead in his match.
He held on to win 4 and 3. Coringa's Nic Kay scratched out a half while the previously unbeaten Owen Burgess and team captain Tom Turner both lost on the last, one down. No 3 Harry Bateman was never in his match and was crushed 6 and 5.
It's likely to be a disappointing end to a disappointing tournament. "It's an absolute bugger," Turner said. "There's no excuses really, we were just outplayed."
The Northland team are a much improved side from tournaments past and were giantkillers last year, though Canterbury dealt with them easily.
Turner said his side had played some good golf, but opposition teams seemed to play out of their skins against Canterbury.
He conceded his side hadn't played well enough, but was unsure why.
"I haven't given it a lot of thought yet," he said.
"We prepared really well and came into the tournament feeling good about our chances."
He said there had been no over-confidence or arrogance within the team. "We just haven't played well enough, I guess."
Meanwhile, the other section is much closer after three days of games. Defending champions Southland, Manawatu/Wanganui, Auckland and Wellington are all level with three points, heading into today's final day of round-robin.
Canterbury 1 Northland 3 Jordan Bakermans bt Luke Brown 4/3, Owen Burgess lost to Chase McKeown 1 down, Harry Bateman lost to Sean Masters 6/5, Nic Kay halved with Brad Bonnington, Tom Turner lost to Kaden Neho 1 down. Points (individual games won in brackets) Section One: Southland 3 (14.5), Manawatu/Wanganui 3 (12 ), Auckland 3 (11), Wellington 3 (11), Waikato 2 (11 ), Aorangi* 1 (9), Taranaki 1 (8), Hawke's Bay 1 (7 ). Section Two: Bay of Plenty 4 (15), Otago* 3 (12 ), Tasman 2 (14), Northland 2 (9), Canterbury 1 (9 ), North Harbour 1 (8), Poverty Bay/East Coast 1 (7). * yet to have the bye.