Hot putter leads Reedy to fourth East Coast Open title

King of the Springs.

King of the Springs.

CHAMPION AGAIN: Anaru Reedy took 11 years to return to Te Puia Springs Golf Club for the East Coast Open after winning it for the third time in 2006. He made it four with a 3 and 2 win over Poverty Bay clubmate Simon Jeune and is pictured right with the open trophy. Left, Reedy in action at the Poverty Bay Open last year. East Coast born-and-bred Reedy put his latest win down to “a hot putter”. He had 15 birdies over the four rounds of matchplay and carded 4-under 62 in two of the rounds. Trophy picture by Chris Taewa, action shot by
Paul Rickard
Golf PB Open - Anaru Reedy

WHEN Anaru “Ru” Reedy won the 2006 East Coast open, he vowed he would be back.

It took the then-Wellington man 11 years to fulfil those words, and on Sunday afternoon at Te Puia Springs Golf Club he exclamation-marked his open return in triumphant style.

Reedy, now based in Gisborne, won his fourth East Coast open title — adding 2017 to 2003, 2005 and 2006.

It made him the third most successful player in an open history dating back to 1948.

Only Poverty Bay-East Coast golfing greats Eric Gordon (11 titles) and Peter Rouse (10) are ahead of him.

But neither of the late pair could boast a winning percentage Coast born-and-bred Reedy has fashioned on a course he clearly loves.

Reedy has played in five East Coast opens — four of those while based in the capital — and has suffered just one matchplay defeat in that time — a quarterfinal loss in 2004.

His fourth crown was arguably his most impressive, a big call considering his 2003 win included a hole-in-one on the 16th hole in the final against Dean Bloomfield.

Last weekend’s victory was no surprise. Reedy went in as the top seed on handicap (0.1), with a history of success and the momentum of imposing form at his Bay course.

Reedy is a superb ball striker; you can take your pick of superlatives when it comes to his driving. The key to his win, however, was his short game, in particular the blade.

“The putter was hot,” he said over a cup of tea at his Fox Street house, the East Coast Championship trophy originally presented by Miss K.Beale sitting on the kitchen table.

“It was hot all weekend.”

His four cards are testament to that.

He had 15 birdies over the four rounds, and nothing worse than a bogey.

His round 1 victim, Tolaga Bay’s Taine Lincoln, was dismissed 7 and 6 in a flawless performance of four birdies and eight pars.

Patutahi’s Eddie Brown junior was next, 4 and 3, to set up a semifinal with Thomas Donovan.

A member of Poverty Bay, Gisborne Park and Te Puia, Donovan proved Reedy’s most difficult assignment.

“He was really tough,” said Reedy. “I took him as an easybeat and that was a stupid thing to do. He played really solid. His up-and-down game was awesome.”

Reedy could take some credit for Donovan’s display. Donovan informed him during their match that “I’ve been using tips you gave me”.

Those weren’t quite enough as Reedy won on the 18th to set up a final against defending champion Simon Jeune — the battle of the masters (over-40s players, in Jeune’s case over-50).

Jeune booked his spot with a 5 and 4 defeat of Patutahi’s Shayde Skudder, who had denied home-course hero Andrew Higham the chance of an open title on his 30th birthday in a 19-hole quarterfinal duel.

Jeune described the prospect of facing Reedy in a text to an inquiring fellow golfer: “Pure vs ugly but effective . . . dream final”.

Jeune, though, is as dogged as he is intelligent. He took an early lead but by the halfway stage, Reedy had edged ahead 1-up.

He doubled that when he birdied the 10th hole for the fourth time in four matches, then hit what he described as a “knock-down 3-wood” to a foot of the pin on the 199-metre 11th for birdie-2 and a 3-up lead.

Jeune wasn’t going away. He birdied the 12th to cut the deficit to 2-down and the next three holes were halved, including matching birdies on the 15th.

The hole where he achieved perfection in 2003 was where Reedy accomplished his 2017 mission — a 6-iron-hit tee shot on the 16th setting up his sixth birdie of the round and a 3 and 2 win.

In his victory speech, the son of the late Amster Reedy acknowledged his opponents, a couple of top players who weren’t there, his caddie for the final (Aubrey Nepia) and a course he described as “awesome”.

Nepia, who three-putted the 18th to lose to Jeune in round 1, was introduced to the tournament by Reedy in 2003 and has been bringing through a Miramar contingent ever since.

The latest group, along with the rest of the field, got to savour another special experience of Coast hospitality including a memorable “crayfish tree” at both evening meals.

As Reedy put it: “I must have eaten four times the entry fee in crayfish alone.”

WHEN Anaru “Ru” Reedy won the 2006 East Coast open, he vowed he would be back.

It took the then-Wellington man 11 years to fulfil those words, and on Sunday afternoon at Te Puia Springs Golf Club he exclamation-marked his open return in triumphant style.

Reedy, now based in Gisborne, won his fourth East Coast open title — adding 2017 to 2003, 2005 and 2006.

It made him the third most successful player in an open history dating back to 1948.

Only Poverty Bay-East Coast golfing greats Eric Gordon (11 titles) and Peter Rouse (10) are ahead of him.

But neither of the late pair could boast a winning percentage Coast born-and-bred Reedy has fashioned on a course he clearly loves.

Reedy has played in five East Coast opens — four of those while based in the capital — and has suffered just one matchplay defeat in that time — a quarterfinal loss in 2004.

His fourth crown was arguably his most impressive, a big call considering his 2003 win included a hole-in-one on the 16th hole in the final against Dean Bloomfield.

Last weekend’s victory was no surprise. Reedy went in as the top seed on handicap (0.1), with a history of success and the momentum of imposing form at his Bay course.

Reedy is a superb ball striker; you can take your pick of superlatives when it comes to his driving. The key to his win, however, was his short game, in particular the blade.

“The putter was hot,” he said over a cup of tea at his Fox Street house, the East Coast Championship trophy originally presented by Miss K.Beale sitting on the kitchen table.

“It was hot all weekend.”

His four cards are testament to that.

He had 15 birdies over the four rounds, and nothing worse than a bogey.

His round 1 victim, Tolaga Bay’s Taine Lincoln, was dismissed 7 and 6 in a flawless performance of four birdies and eight pars.

Patutahi’s Eddie Brown junior was next, 4 and 3, to set up a semifinal with Thomas Donovan.

A member of Poverty Bay, Gisborne Park and Te Puia, Donovan proved Reedy’s most difficult assignment.

“He was really tough,” said Reedy. “I took him as an easybeat and that was a stupid thing to do. He played really solid. His up-and-down game was awesome.”

Reedy could take some credit for Donovan’s display. Donovan informed him during their match that “I’ve been using tips you gave me”.

Those weren’t quite enough as Reedy won on the 18th to set up a final against defending champion Simon Jeune — the battle of the masters (over-40s players, in Jeune’s case over-50).

Jeune booked his spot with a 5 and 4 defeat of Patutahi’s Shayde Skudder, who had denied home-course hero Andrew Higham the chance of an open title on his 30th birthday in a 19-hole quarterfinal duel.

Jeune described the prospect of facing Reedy in a text to an inquiring fellow golfer: “Pure vs ugly but effective . . . dream final”.

Jeune, though, is as dogged as he is intelligent. He took an early lead but by the halfway stage, Reedy had edged ahead 1-up.

He doubled that when he birdied the 10th hole for the fourth time in four matches, then hit what he described as a “knock-down 3-wood” to a foot of the pin on the 199-metre 11th for birdie-2 and a 3-up lead.

Jeune wasn’t going away. He birdied the 12th to cut the deficit to 2-down and the next three holes were halved, including matching birdies on the 15th.

The hole where he achieved perfection in 2003 was where Reedy accomplished his 2017 mission — a 6-iron-hit tee shot on the 16th setting up his sixth birdie of the round and a 3 and 2 win.

In his victory speech, the son of the late Amster Reedy acknowledged his opponents, a couple of top players who weren’t there, his caddie for the final (Aubrey Nepia) and a course he described as “awesome”.

Nepia, who three-putted the 18th to lose to Jeune in round 1, was introduced to the tournament by Reedy in 2003 and has been bringing through a Miramar contingent ever since.

The latest group, along with the rest of the field, got to savour another special experience of Coast hospitality including a memorable “crayfish tree” at both evening meals.

As Reedy put it: “I must have eaten four times the entry fee in crayfish alone.”

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