Kerekere grinds out victory

Golf PB Open - Peter Kerekere
Golf PB Open - Willie Brown

THE record books don’t care how you win.

When young golfers with big dreams look up at the honours board at Poverty Bay Golf Club years from now, under men’s open championship they will see 2016 — P Kerekere.

It will be in gold lettering and a duplicate of the year before.

It won’t say how Peter Kerekere won. How “grind” rather than “brilliance” was the operative word in his victory. It will simply record that he did. Again.

The 28-year-old postman became the eighth player to successfully defend the Keiha Cup championship-16 crown of the 81st edition of the Emerre and Hathaway-sponsored Poverty Bay men’s open on Saturday afternoon.

A 3 and 1 matchplay victory over greenkeeper, good mate and fellow Poverty Bay-East Coast representative William Brown saw him become the first player since Alex Tait in 2002-2003 to retain the silverware.

The gallery did not get a vintage performance. But it did witness some quality scrambling in a tension-filled final where the door was opened for both players, probably more so for the man who ended up second.

Top seed Kerekere battled his way to the 17th-hole finish line through a combination of sheer will, a couple of touches of class, a piece of good fortune and his opponent’s short-putt struggles.

Brown, the 2012 champion, will look back on this day and know it was one that got away. He missed multiple short putts – three of those on the back nine when he had a great chance to halve or win the hole. How much different it could have been if the blade had complied.

Kerekere had his own issues. His swing wasn’t quite in the slot, and several shots were pushed or cut right.

But while the golf did not induce oohs and aahs from the audience, Kerekere dropped only three shots over the 17 holes. He birdied the second and fifth holes and bogeyed the fourth, sixth and ninth in a front nine of 1-over 37. On the back nine, he bogeyed the 11th (it was halved in fours after Brown missed an eight-footer for the win) — and 16th (another half after Brown’s three-foot par-putt missed) and parred everything else.

A pivotal hole

That included one of the pivotal holes. Kerekere’s tee shot off the 12th looked to be going out of bounds, only to hit a gum tree and stay in. He was way behind Brown but stuck a sweet wood into the left-hand rough, his ball ending up in a decent lie. Brown went with wood for his second but pushed his shot into the trees.

Kerekere then played a stinging iron shot on to the green while Brown could only bump a low effort to the front of the green. He three-putted from there, Kerekere two-putted and walked off the hole 1-up.

Brown also had his moments – holing a 25-footer on the eighth for birdie and one of the most Houdini-like pars you will ever see on the ninth.

After hooking his drive, Brown ambitiously went for a high cut with a 5-iron only to scuttle it along the ground. He then took out his 52-degree wedge and blasted his ball over the top of greenside trees to about 18 feet from the hole.

Kerekere, from the middle of the fairway, played by his standards a poor second — his ball ending up plugged in rough behind the right-hand bunker. There is no local rule allowing relief from an embedded ball in the rough so he had to chop it out. He missed his 20-footer for par and Brown slotted his for a quite incredible par.

Earlier, Kerekere booked his place in the final with a 3 and 2 win over Wairekei International member Bruce Wilson — a performance highlighted by a 50-foot putt for birdie-2 on the 11th.

Brown won his semi 2 and 1 over Pete Anderson — the last hope of the five PBEC masters (over-40) team members who made the top 16.

The open win makes this easily the greatest year of golf for Kerekere, who only got into the game after suffering an injury in judo as a youngster.

He was player of the series as Poverty Bay won the Oligoi Jug interclub pennants, won the King of the Coast open at Tolaga Bay and only a week ago claimed his first senior men’s club championship.

Kerekere and Brown will now join forces for PBEC at the national interprovincial in New Plymouth.

THE record books don’t care how you win.

When young golfers with big dreams look up at the honours board at Poverty Bay Golf Club years from now, under men’s open championship they will see 2016 — P Kerekere.

It will be in gold lettering and a duplicate of the year before.

It won’t say how Peter Kerekere won. How “grind” rather than “brilliance” was the operative word in his victory. It will simply record that he did. Again.

The 28-year-old postman became the eighth player to successfully defend the Keiha Cup championship-16 crown of the 81st edition of the Emerre and Hathaway-sponsored Poverty Bay men’s open on Saturday afternoon.

A 3 and 1 matchplay victory over greenkeeper, good mate and fellow Poverty Bay-East Coast representative William Brown saw him become the first player since Alex Tait in 2002-2003 to retain the silverware.

The gallery did not get a vintage performance. But it did witness some quality scrambling in a tension-filled final where the door was opened for both players, probably more so for the man who ended up second.

Top seed Kerekere battled his way to the 17th-hole finish line through a combination of sheer will, a couple of touches of class, a piece of good fortune and his opponent’s short-putt struggles.

Brown, the 2012 champion, will look back on this day and know it was one that got away. He missed multiple short putts – three of those on the back nine when he had a great chance to halve or win the hole. How much different it could have been if the blade had complied.

Kerekere had his own issues. His swing wasn’t quite in the slot, and several shots were pushed or cut right.

But while the golf did not induce oohs and aahs from the audience, Kerekere dropped only three shots over the 17 holes. He birdied the second and fifth holes and bogeyed the fourth, sixth and ninth in a front nine of 1-over 37. On the back nine, he bogeyed the 11th (it was halved in fours after Brown missed an eight-footer for the win) — and 16th (another half after Brown’s three-foot par-putt missed) and parred everything else.

A pivotal hole

That included one of the pivotal holes. Kerekere’s tee shot off the 12th looked to be going out of bounds, only to hit a gum tree and stay in. He was way behind Brown but stuck a sweet wood into the left-hand rough, his ball ending up in a decent lie. Brown went with wood for his second but pushed his shot into the trees.

Kerekere then played a stinging iron shot on to the green while Brown could only bump a low effort to the front of the green. He three-putted from there, Kerekere two-putted and walked off the hole 1-up.

Brown also had his moments – holing a 25-footer on the eighth for birdie and one of the most Houdini-like pars you will ever see on the ninth.

After hooking his drive, Brown ambitiously went for a high cut with a 5-iron only to scuttle it along the ground. He then took out his 52-degree wedge and blasted his ball over the top of greenside trees to about 18 feet from the hole.

Kerekere, from the middle of the fairway, played by his standards a poor second — his ball ending up plugged in rough behind the right-hand bunker. There is no local rule allowing relief from an embedded ball in the rough so he had to chop it out. He missed his 20-footer for par and Brown slotted his for a quite incredible par.

Earlier, Kerekere booked his place in the final with a 3 and 2 win over Wairekei International member Bruce Wilson — a performance highlighted by a 50-foot putt for birdie-2 on the 11th.

Brown won his semi 2 and 1 over Pete Anderson — the last hope of the five PBEC masters (over-40) team members who made the top 16.

The open win makes this easily the greatest year of golf for Kerekere, who only got into the game after suffering an injury in judo as a youngster.

He was player of the series as Poverty Bay won the Oligoi Jug interclub pennants, won the King of the Coast open at Tolaga Bay and only a week ago claimed his first senior men’s club championship.

Kerekere and Brown will now join forces for PBEC at the national interprovincial in New Plymouth.

All five finals go to 17th

All five division finals of the Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay men’s open went to the 17th hole and beyond.

The second 16 was won by Wynne MacLellan on the 19th after opponent Kim Gunness suffered uncharacteristic putting lapses on the 18th and first hole of sudden death.

Kenny White, who led 5-up after 10 holes, held off a charging Marcel Campbell to win the third-16 final 2 and 1.

Campbell, instead of drowning his sorrows on the 19th, went back to his Neighborhood Pizza business in Ballance Street Village, whipped up a bunch of pizzas and took them back to the golf club to feed the masses.

Hamish Williams made a miraculous up-and-down for par from behind the 18th green to defeat Frank Ball in the fourth-16 final.

Warwick Thompson beat Australian Nik Lesic 2 and 1 in the fifth-16 decider.

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