Otago Blue and Island Park have the jump on the field at the halfway stage of the metropolitan men’s pennant series after both teams posted wins at Balmacewen yesterday morning.
Otago Blue beat St Clair Blue 5-1 while Island Park beat Otago Gold 4-2.
Otago Blue holds the lead with 13 points and 21.5 games after the fifth round, while Island Park is one point behind with 16.5 games in second place.
The Chisholm Links team halved with St Clair Gold on Saturday for its second half in two weekends.
With three points for a win and only one for a half, the Chisholm team has slipped down the leaderboard with eight points and 16 games.
The long-awaited clash between last year’s two finalists, St Clair Blue and Otago Blue, lost much of its gloss with many St Clair players unavailable. Some were competing in the Greg Turner junior order of merit finals in Central Otago.
The rules preclude players from St Clair Gold playing for St Clair Blue so St Clair drafted two of its top schoolboy golfers in Patrick Aluesi (14) and Callum White (14) into the team.
Although Otago Blue dominated, winning five of the six games, the match was much closer, with three of the games finishing on the final two greens.
At No1, national left-handed champion Ben Patston suffered his first recent loss, going down to Ryan Bellamy on the 16th green.
Tyrone Ratahi, Jason Hughes, Luke Murdoch and Howard Maxwell all won for Otago Blue and team captain Brandon Hodgson put the icing on the cake when he holed a 2m birdie putt to beat Stephen Hitchcox on the final green.
Island Park was too strong for Otago Gold with captain Michael Minty, Ken Shaw, Mike Wray and Andrew Hobbs winning.
For Otago Gold, Ben Turner and Cameron Ryder posted wins to increase the team’s game tally by two but the team is yet to register its first win.
The most exciting finish was at St Clair on Saturday afternoon with Chisholm Links and St Clair Gold finishing tied at 3-3.
For Chisholm, No2 Jason Pegler and No5 Peter Rae posted wins, while No1 Conor Jamison made six birdies to beat Mark Collie.
No6 Cameron Botting beat Matthew Heaton on the 14th green, leaving the Geary brothers at No3 and No4 to decide Chisholm’s fate.
Sean Geary and Ross Colquhoun were all square playing the final hole and both made pars, while Kyle made a regulation 4 on the final hole to look like tipping the contest in his team’s favour.
Tony Giles drove into the fairway bunker and exploded out to the left apron before playing a forgettable chip on to the putting surface.
But he was cool as a cucumber sinking a difficult downhill 4m putt for his par to ensure his match and the fixture were halved.
On Saturday an eight-strong Chisholm Links team beat an Otago Club team to retain the coveted Challenge Trophy.
The Challenge Trophy is contested between Metropolitan golf clubs and is played under a format similar to that of rugby’s Ranfurly Shield.
Chisholm won the fixture 5-3 but will have to play well next month, as the strong St Clair team is the next challenger.
Pennant results & table are published here:
Challenge Cup results are published here: