Itching to get his hands on East Coast Open title

Peter Kerekere has an impressive golfing resumé.

Multiple Poverty Bay Open titles, a senior club championship crown, King of the Coast honours and a long list of national interprovincial appearances.

But he’s well aware of the silverware he has not got to hold aloft, an awkwardly-placed itch he has been unable to alleviate in his career so far . . . the East Coast Open.

Tomorrow at Te Puia Springs Golf Club, Kerekere sets out to complete what is known as Poverty Bay-East Coast’s “Triple Crown” — victories in the Poverty Bay Open, Tolaga Bay’s King of the Coast and the East Coast Open.

While it fades in comparison to professional golf’s “Major” sweep, there is a similarity. Membership is small.

Should Kerekere cross this milestone off the list he would be one of only two players in this weekend’s field to have achieved it.

The other is probably his highest hurdle – defending champion Andrew Higham.

Higham has compiled an excellent record on his home Springs track, which he has added to at his other club — Poverty Bay — and enhanced at representative level. Last year he disposed of first-time finalist Hukanui Brown to make it a third East Coast Open crown. As it usually is on the Springs, the short game was key. Higham’s is second to none.

Another player expected to feature at the pointy end of a tournament at which Coast hospitality almost upstages the golf is Anaru Reedy.

With East Coast blood pulsing through his vein, the former Wellingtonian, now living in the heart of Gisborne suburb Whataupoko, has a record of four East Coast Open titles in six attempts. He and Kerekere, on +0.8, are the lowest-handicapped players in the field, so early exits by these two would be classified under “shock loss”.

Both men, however, will not take any opponent lightly. Last year they were eliminated by the same player — Hukanui Brown — Kerekere in round 2, Reedy in the semifinals.

Brown and older brother Eddie are not there this weekend due to a bereavement but another Brown with the talent to be presenting a victory speech on early Sunday evening is William. The greenkeeper, who won the East Coast Open in 2010, is probably sick of hearing it but it has to be said again . . . he is well overdue for a significant win. No reason why it should not be this weekend.

Simon Jeune would rank himself among the outside bets — referencing his disastrous 2019 Oligoi Jug interclub pennants campaign so far — but one only needs to point to his name on the East Coast Open honours board (2016) to negate that.

There are several others who would be ranked under “dark horse” or “rank outsider” but on their day have the capability to floor any of the heavyweights, while among the visitors who pose a threat is Kawerau big hitter Zane Rangihika.

Peter Kerekere has an impressive golfing resumé.

Multiple Poverty Bay Open titles, a senior club championship crown, King of the Coast honours and a long list of national interprovincial appearances.

But he’s well aware of the silverware he has not got to hold aloft, an awkwardly-placed itch he has been unable to alleviate in his career so far . . . the East Coast Open.

Tomorrow at Te Puia Springs Golf Club, Kerekere sets out to complete what is known as Poverty Bay-East Coast’s “Triple Crown” — victories in the Poverty Bay Open, Tolaga Bay’s King of the Coast and the East Coast Open.

While it fades in comparison to professional golf’s “Major” sweep, there is a similarity. Membership is small.

Should Kerekere cross this milestone off the list he would be one of only two players in this weekend’s field to have achieved it.

The other is probably his highest hurdle – defending champion Andrew Higham.

Higham has compiled an excellent record on his home Springs track, which he has added to at his other club — Poverty Bay — and enhanced at representative level. Last year he disposed of first-time finalist Hukanui Brown to make it a third East Coast Open crown. As it usually is on the Springs, the short game was key. Higham’s is second to none.

Another player expected to feature at the pointy end of a tournament at which Coast hospitality almost upstages the golf is Anaru Reedy.

With East Coast blood pulsing through his vein, the former Wellingtonian, now living in the heart of Gisborne suburb Whataupoko, has a record of four East Coast Open titles in six attempts. He and Kerekere, on +0.8, are the lowest-handicapped players in the field, so early exits by these two would be classified under “shock loss”.

Both men, however, will not take any opponent lightly. Last year they were eliminated by the same player — Hukanui Brown — Kerekere in round 2, Reedy in the semifinals.

Brown and older brother Eddie are not there this weekend due to a bereavement but another Brown with the talent to be presenting a victory speech on early Sunday evening is William. The greenkeeper, who won the East Coast Open in 2010, is probably sick of hearing it but it has to be said again . . . he is well overdue for a significant win. No reason why it should not be this weekend.

Simon Jeune would rank himself among the outside bets — referencing his disastrous 2019 Oligoi Jug interclub pennants campaign so far — but one only needs to point to his name on the East Coast Open honours board (2016) to negate that.

There are several others who would be ranked under “dark horse” or “rank outsider” but on their day have the capability to floor any of the heavyweights, while among the visitors who pose a threat is Kawerau big hitter Zane Rangihika.

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