Hole in one tips tourney in Auckland's favour


It was the defining moment of the Toro Women's Interprovincial final. Auckland No4 Brittney Dryland, who had won every match heading into the final, stood on the tee of the 145m par three 13th hole, all square in her match with Lucy Davis and the momentum firmly with Wellington.


The team from the capital were on a charge on the back nine with the chance to win the national team provincial trophy for the first time in 20 years.


That was until Dryland delivered the shot of the championship - a four-iron for a hole-in-one - to take a 1up lead over Davis, who also had a perfect winning record until the final.


After witnessing the hole-in-one, team-mate Joanna Kim made a great putt for eagle and the championship match was back in Auckland's favour. From there, Auckland won 3-2 in what will be remembered as one of the most closely fought finals in an event that dates back to 1949.


"I had a five iron and Kaye [Carroll], our manager, came over and told me to take one more club, so I did," said Dryland. "I knew it was a good shot so I picked up my tee and I didn't know it went in but everyone started screaming.


It was great. It gave us that bit of confidence that we needed to keep in the match and keep fighting."


Auckland captain Larissa Eruera, who delivered an important half for her team, said the hole-in-one was heard by her team around the course.


The win means Auckland are the first team since 2009 to successfully defend their title (Bay of Plenty won the title from 2007-09).


Carroll said the come-from-behind win ranks among the province's finest.


"That has to be the tensest final I have ever seen," she said. "They deserve this win. They have worked so hard. The Keh sisters practise 30 hours a week each and you can tell. The turnaround from that shot [hole in one] was dramatic. It wasn't looking too good for a while."


It was Auckland's 21st victory but the title was still there for the taking for Wellington. Their No1 Julianne Alvarez showed her class with a 4 and 3 win over Wenyung Keh and Auckland's Joanna Kim levelled the ledger by defeating Barbara Pereno 5 and 4.


Wellington's Alanah Bradley had a golden chance in her match with Eruera. The Wellington No5 was 1up walking down the 18th and had a 1m putt to win her tight contest but it went sliding by and the match was halved. Eruera putted in from 60cm for the half.


"I have never been so nervous over a little putt before," said Eruera.


The battle between Dryland and Davis proved decisive. The Aucklander won the titanic tussle in the end on the 18th hole with a par to Davis' three-putt bogey.


Not only did it decide the title but it also confirmed Dryland as the player of the tournament where she left the St Clair Golf Club with a perfect winning record of eight wins from eight matches.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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