Northland’s first win at men’s Interprovincials
Northland gained it's first win at the men's Interprovincial Championship in the tournament's 68-year history when defeating Auckland in the final.
The team of Luke Brown, Dale Clarke, Kadin Neho, Taylor Gill and Alex Neely came out of the gates in the final firing after defeating local hopes Canterbury in a superb semi-final.
After squeezing into the final four the day before, the Northlanders used all that momentum and more to carry them home and complete a fairytale victory at the Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch.
Northland’s win capped a remarkable comeback for Clarke who last played in the tournament 11 years previous. Clarke racked up six wins from eight matches and was subsequently named player of the tournament.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling and I can’t explain it at this stage,” Clarke, 33, said with a beaming smile.
He said the player of the tournament award was merely cream on the cake.
“It’s an added bonus and didn’t expect the award, so we will certainly celebrate this evening,’’ he said.
“We just tried to stick together as a team all week, build together and it all worked out. I couldn’t be prouder of this bunch of boys.”
Clarke’s form added to recent success of note. He had earlier won the New Zealand Mid-Amateur followed by the Australian Mid-Amateur.
Kadin Neho secured Northland’s first point in the final with a convincing victory over Johnny Tynan to calm the nerves before Clarke joined him. Things looked to be heading towards a number one showdown between Luke Brown and Jared Edwards before things started to unravel.
It was the early matches that went the distance with Northland’s number five Alex Neely securing the match-winning point on the final hole to start the celebrations. He played his shot of the week when approaching into 17 which was converted with a birdie when it counted.
Next year’s Interprovincials will be held in Hawke's Bay.
The result of the final was (Northland names first):- Northland 3-1/2 beat Auckland 1-1/2 Luke Brown lost to Jared Edwards 3 & 2, Dale Clarke defeated Jang Hyun Lee 4 & 3, Kadin Neho defeated Johnny Tynana 5 & 3, Taylor Gill halved with Kunaal Singh and Alex Neely defeated Jimmy Zheng 1 up.