Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

BOP just miss out on Freyberg Masters title

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IN FORM: Tauranga's Blair Murdock lost just one match all week at the Diners Freyberg Masters. PHOTO: Linda Robertson
IN FORM: Tauranga's Blair Murdock lost just one match all week at the Diners Freyberg Masters. PHOTO: Linda Robertson

Bay of Plenty gave it their all in their quest to defend their Diners Freyberg Masters title but in the end were unable to stop Auckland winning for the first time since 2003.

The event was staged at the wonderful facilities of the scenic Chisholm Links Golf Club in Dunedin and while the deep south offered a variety of conditions all week, the final day on Friday was superb.

To win, Bay of Plenty needed to win their final match against Hawke's Bay and for Auckland to lose to Canterbury, but sadly neither result went the Bay's way meaning they finished outside the top three placings.

Bay of Plenty were in the driver's seat throughout the afternoon before stumbling over the final nine holes to a passionate Hawkes Bay line-up who finished the week on a high and denied Bay of Plenty a chance of back-to-back titles.

Team manager Ross Fowler said a couple of things didn't go their way but credit must go to Hawke's Bay for the way they played.

"They didn't really have anything to play for but they certainly didn't roll over and we didn't expect them to. Every team is so competitive now and it showed with Poverty Bay having a win," Fowler said.

"Every team has really good players now and on the day we were just not good enough. On that back nine they played better golf. They made a couple of putts, we missed a couple of putts, there it is.

"I think what's happened in the last five years in particular is they have seen what teams like us have done. We have set the benchmark to some degree. We have got more professional about how we prepare, how we present ourselves and everyone has just raised their game to the point where you have teams like us who have sponsorship, who bring a reserve and a manager.

"We started doing that five years ago and it's a recipe that has obviously worked."

All of the Bay of Plenty team of Darryn Lowans, Simon Wright, Blair Murdock, Steve Heberley and Jason Madden contributed throughout the week, with Fowler making special mention of Murdock and Heberley.

Murdock lost just one match while Heberley was unbeaten throughout the week, one of just four golfers to not lose a match.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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