Island Park and Taieri Lakes started this year’s men’s metropolitan senior A pennant series in style, both posting 4-2 wins in the first round on Saturday.
Playing at home, a young Taieri Lakes team won the top four games, led by No1 Hayden Robertson, who accounted for Brent Butler 3 and 2.
Taieri No2 Matt Lee also had a good win, beating Chisholm captain Mark Collie with three holes to spare.
No3 Phillip Hawkins and No4 Matt Mercer both won on the final green, while the last two games went to Chisholm’s Jason Pegler and Matthew Heaton.
Taieri was without the services of stalwarts Mark Andrews, Brett Kennelly and Ken Shaw, but the new-look team’s success augurs well for the club’s future prospects.
St Clair also fielded a young team, Taieri Classic winner Josh Taylor the oldest of the sextet, aged 21 years.
In sharp contrast, the Island Park sextet had a wealth of experience; some important acquisitions this year might well give the team a good chance to win the series.
Former Balmacewen player Michael Smith played at No1, while team captain Michael Minty took the No 3 berth.
Chris Snow, formerly of St Clair, and Phil Bungard, of Christchurch, have boosted the strength of the Island Park team and they were instrumental in its win.
The match was in the balance until the final hole.
St Clair’s No 6 Callum White was its sole winner, beating Mike Wray on the 15th green, while No3 Jakob Bleach and No5 Matthew Crawford both emerged with halves.
Bungard posted the first win for Island Park, beating Otago Eagles junior golfer of 2018 Parker Aluesi 3 and 2.
It was a strong finish by the top Park pair that tipped the balance for their team. Both Smith and Snow won on the final green.
Smith went on to the final hole ahead and won the 18th to win by 2-up, while Snow edged ahead of Hancock to win 1-up.
Defending champion Otago had a bye in the first round but will meet St Clair on the Balmacewen course next Saturday.
St Clair will have a more experienced line-up for the encounter, as the schoolboys and juniors will be in Cromwell for the Eagles intercollegiate and the Otago age-group championships next weekend.
Men’s & Women’s Results published here: