Sloan team off to a hot start
- 13 February 2023
- Peter Watson
Our Sloan Trophy team made a strong start to the season by dispatching Greenacres at Murchison on Sunday.
The emphatic 7.5-1.5 point win means we sit in joint second place after the first round behind the early pacesetters Golden Downs who surprisingly routed defending champions Motueka 8-1.
In another shock Tasman dealt to Nelson 7.5-1.5, while Totaradale saw off a spirited Takaka 6.5-2.5.
Our victory was built from the top, with No 1 Pete Green playing excellent par golf to defeat Luke McCall 5/4. A par, birdie, par start had Pete three up after three and he built on this to be five ahead at the turn. After losing the 13th to a birdie, Pete restored the margin with another birdie of his own at the 14th and then parred his way to a comfortable win.
Keri Kotua had a tougher time against Justin Smith before prevailing 2/1. Our No 2 started well with a birdie two but a few wayward irons and loose holes saw him slip to two down. However, another birdie on a par 5
got him back to all square after nine holes. A sublime lob over a greenside bush and good putt at No 14 followed by a birdie at No 15 saw him two up only to lose the next with a lost ball. But the experienced campaigner didn’t panic and secured the win at the 17th with a great approach shot to six feet.
Geoff Halkett took awhile to get the better of Michael Touio before pulling away late for a 4/3 win. After an even start, Geoff turned one up and halved the next three. Our No 3 then won three on the bounce to ease to victory.
Aaron Kotua relied on a hot putter and some great scrambling to eke out a 2/1 win over Mark Wallace. One up at the midway mark, Aaron couldn’t shake his straighter-hitting opponent but sunk some long putts at the end, including a birdie two, to get the job done.
Our No 5 Lewis Wilson’s match against Anthony Robinson was always tight with eight halved holes and no-one with more than a one-hole lead. Lewis was up early and then all square at the turn before losing the 17th to be even going to the last. His missed a gettable putt on No 18th to win and was forced to settle for half a point.
Greg Mann was drafted into the team at late notice after Garth Jameson injured himself and the Sloan rookie gave a good account of himself at No 6 against Stephen Howey on a course he had never played before slipping to a 4/3 loss. After a bright start, some short game struggles saw him two down going into the back nine and he just couldn’t recover.
Our next match is at Golden Downs on February 26 where we will be looking to build on one of our best starts for some years.