They are bosom buddies but Felix Webby and George Coulter will be going for each other with mallet and hoops in the singles final of the New Zealand Golf Croquet Championship in Hawke's Bay today.
It's also redemption time for Coulter after Webby beat him for the world under-21 bragging rights in Australia last year.
"We've known each other for about five years," said Coulter, of Whakatane, after the dust settled in the playoffs yesterday at the Heretaunga club in Hastings.
The 21-year-old supermarket employee, who finds golf croquet to be an ideal activity to release the tension in his jangled nerves, beat defending national champion Edmund Fordyce, 17, of Methven, 3-2 (7-6, 4-7, 7-6, 4-7, 7-4) in the semifinals.
The minus four handicapper pipped Justin Hodgetts, of Timaru, 2-1 (4-7, 7-6, 7-3) in the quarterfinals.
Webby, of New Plymouth, beat Aucklander Josh Freer, 3-2 (5-7, 7-0, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6) in the semifinals having edged out Christopher Spittal, of Methven, 2-1 (7-6, 5-7, 7-2) in the quarter-finals.
The 18-year-old outgoing Francis Douglas Memorial pupil, said he had agonisingly lost in the 2016 final in Hamilton to multiple champion Duncan Dixon, of Christchurch, in the fifth game.
The minus five handicapper, who is off to study health science at Otago University, hoped to prevail today but said a best-of-five match eliminated the element of luck.
"Whoever is hitting best should pull through," he said, taking some momentum from the 7-0 result against Freer but mindful Coulter was in form as well.
"He's on his game as well so I'll try to do my best to see if I can win."
Webby said trusting his important shots - for example, a couple of good hoops in the fourth game and clearances yesterday - when it mattered was crucial.
He got into golf croquet while attending a school programme, the competitive aspect and tactics struck a chord with him.
"It's making those big shots and watching it come off," he said.
Coulter said relaxing and staying focus was vital for him today.
"In the industry I work in, you tend to get a little stressed out," said the bloke who is studying part time for a degree in retail management when he's not trying to establish fluency between his staff of 15 and customers in the hectic supermarket aisles.
Conversely he said it taught him how to deal with pressure, which he transferred to the lawns.
Coulter said they received the same guidance from the New Zealand development programme so the young and the restless had each other's measure.
Wind, he felt, was a factor but so far it was good weather here, although younger players tended to handle the elements better.