New Zealand Defeats Australia in the 2015 Sanctuary Cove Trophy
The New Zealand Senior team has continued their recent dominance over Australia with another convincing win in the 2015 Sanctuary Cove Trophy played at Sanctuary Cove Golf Club in Queensland.
Day 1 had seen Australia halve the morning Foursomes giving 3 points to each team. In the afternoon Fourball games Australia played well losing only one match and taking a 2 point overall lead heading into the twelve individual matches to be played on the second day.
It was in these all important individual matches that the strong Kiwi team once again showed their tough competitive spirit. The Australian team played well early and at the half way mark had done enough to maintain their overnight lead and a win looked more than likely. However, the New Zealanders rallied and with some wonderful iron play and impressive putting turned the fortunes on the Aussies. They won the singles 8 points to 4 and that gave them an overall winning results of 13 points to 11.
The standout performer for the Australian team was Victorian newcomer Ian Frost who went through the series undefeated.
The New Zealand team has now won the last four matches and has an overall lead of 6 wins to 3 in the nine years the event has been played. The next match between the two traditional rivals will be in New Zealand at the Royal Wellington Golf Club in February, 2016.
INDIVIDUAL AUSTRALIA 4 INDIVIDUAL NEW ZEALAND 8 Greg Rhodes 5&3 Michael Leitch Sal Ballard Arthur Parkin 2up Roy Vandersluis Reg Fleet 2&1 Vince Clark Rodney Barltrop 2&1 John Banting SQ Robbie Bell SQ Ian Frost 2&1 John Batley Trevor Hughes John Sanders 6&5 Steve Toyne SQ Michael Barltrop SQ Mick Streit Tony Treen 2&1 Barry Tippett Frank Borren 3&2 Tom Harold Andrew McKechnie 2&1 Stefan Albinski 3&1 Murray Martin
|FOURSOMES AUSTRALIA||3||FOURSOMES NEW ZEALAND||3|
|Stefan Albinski & Mick Streit||Rodney Barltrop & Frank Borren||3&2|
|Steve Toyne & Vince Clark||3&2||Mike Leitch & Robbie Bell|
|Barry Tippett & Ian Frost||4&3||John Sanders & Arthur Parkin|
|Greg Rhodes & Sal Ballard||Andrew McKechnie & Murray Martin||3&2|
|Roy Vandersluis & Tom Harold||SQ||Michael Barltrop & Reg Fleet||SQ|
|John Banting & Trevor Hughes||SQ||John Batley & Tony Treen||SQ|
|FOURSOMES AUSTRALIA||4||FOURBALL NEW ZEALAND||2|
|Barry Tippett & Ian Frost||1up||Murray Martin & Mike Leitch|
|Stefan Albinski & Mick Streit||2&1||Andrew McKechnie & Robbie Bell|
|Steve Toyne & Vince Clark||Michael Barltrop & Frank Borren||5&3|
|Roy Vandersluis & Tom Harold||1up||Rodney Barltrop & John Sanders||SQ|
|Greg Rhodes & Sal Ballard||SQ||John Batley & Tony Treen|
|John Banting & Trevor Hughes||SQ||Reg Fleet & Arthur Parkin||SQ|
The Sanctuary Cove Trophy traditionally begins with the Foursomes and although the weather was cooler than expected in sunny Queensland it was otherwise a perfect day for beginning the tournament at the highly rated Pines course at Sanctuary Cove Golf Club.
The opening match of the tournament saw Stefan Albinski and Mick Streit lead off for the Aussie team against Kiwi veteran Rodney Barltrop and his partner Frank Borren. The Australians led early but then could do nothing but watch on as the Kiwis holed a series of good putts to take the lead towards the end of the match. First points to New Zealand with a 2&1 win.
The second match saw Queenslander newcomer Steve Toyne partnered with NSW senior Vince Clark against the visiting pairing of Mike Leitch and Robbie Bell. The Australian team played very well and with some fine shot making and precision putting they soon opened an early lead and held on well to record a comfortable 3&2 win.
Victorian pair Barry Tippett and Ian Frost play together often and know each other's games well and used this knowledge to combine perfectly in their match against the Kiwi pairing of John Sanders and Arthur Parkin. With a long string of pars the determined Australians were always in front to record a 4&3 winning margin.
Next up was the newcomer from Victoria Greg Rhodes playing alongside NSW senior Sal Ballard. Their Kiwi opponents Andrew McKechnie and Murray Martin were perhaps the Kiwis best two players and a high quality game was anticipated. The Australians played some good early golf but then a few wayward holes gave the reliable Kiwis a clear lead and they closed out the match when Murray Martin holed out from off the green on the sixteenth hole. The 3&2 win gave the New Zealand team a valuable point.
NSW senior Roy Vandersluis was a late replacement for West Australian Ian McPherson who unfortunately had to withdraw with a back problem. Paired with Darwin player Tom Harold this team were up against Michael Barltrop and Reg Fleet representing the New Zealanders. The Aussies trailed early and although they were never in front they kept fighting back and managed to be just a single hole behind standing on the eighteenth tee. An exciting hole followed with Vandersluis playing a brilliant long bunker shot across the green towards the lake that saw the Aussies square the match and earn a much needed half point.
The final Foursomes match saw the West Australian pairing of John Banting and Trevor Hughes up against the New Zealand team of John Batley and Tony Treen. The Kiwis were dominant early and were three holes in front entering the final nine. The Australian pair then lifted and with some great iron play and precise putting drew level only to again lose the lead again with just the last hole to play. The eighteenth hole proved to be a good one for another Australian pair as Trevor Hughes played a beautiful long range pitch under heavy pressure to the tightest of pins to win the hole and square the match.
When the dust had settled and the players adjourned for lunch the teams were locked together with three points each. A nice barbecue lunch and then back again this afternoon for the Fourball matches.
Foursomes golf is always stressful and generally the Fourball format is a little easier and often produces high quality golf with birdies needed to win a hole. Both teams were looking to use the Fourball format to establish a lead going into tomorrow’s singles matches.
First off for the Australians were Barry Tippet and Ian Frost looking for their second win. Their opponents were Murray Martin and Mike Leitch and both teams started very well to square the opening holes. Thereafter it was a very tense struggle with the match not decided until the final green when Barry Tippett holed a tricky two metre putt to claim the first afternoon point for Australia.
The Albinski and Streit pair were up against a tough team in Andrew McKechnie and Robbie Bell. The Australian’s opened with an Albinski birdie and they managed to hold onto this slender lead as they moved into the back nine. Beautiful birdies by Streit then increased the home team’s lead and when they parred the seventeenth they had recorded a 2&1 win and another full point for the Aussies.
The third match gave the Kiwis their first point with Michael Barltrop and Frank Borren playing great fourball golf to comfortably defeat the Australian pair of Steve Toyne and Vince Clark with a 5&3 win.
Tom Harold and Roy Vandersluis faced up to the experienced Kiwi’s Rodney Barltrop and John Batley. In another close match the New Zealand team held a slender advantage throughout the match and when the players reached the final hole it was all square. Harold played the very tough closing hole beautifully and when he made a great up and down for a par it was one more valuable point for the Australian team.
The second last match saw the strong Australian pair of Sal Ballard and Greg Rhodes playing another strong NZ pair in Tony Treen and John Batley. It was a tense battle and as darkness quickly moved in it was a great Ballard two putt from 25 metres across the green and over a sloping ridge that saw the Aussies square the match and a point with the Kiwis.
The last fourball match saw the West Australian team of Trevor Hughes and John Banting begin with some wonderful golf and they had soon opened a four-hole lead against Reg Fleet and Arthur Parkin. Then the Kiwis started a comeback that saw them square the match with one hole remaining. In very dark conditions it came down to the final putts but all edged past the hole and it was half a point to each team.
The Fourballs had been a great result for the Australian team who had only lost one match. Their four points to the New Zealanders two gave them a two point advantage heading into the all important singles matches to be played the following day. Perhaps this would be the year the Australians reclaimed the sanctuary Cove Trophy.
Singles morning arrived and the nervous golfers awoke to find weather that was quite unbelievable. Sanctuary Cove residents and professional staff commented that no one had ever seen conditions as cold and bleak and windy as this. It was a very difficult day for golf – perhaps it would favour the Kiwis a little but they certainly would not play in these conditions very often.
Greg Rhodes was the first Australian and he was matched with evergreen New Zealander Mike Leitch. The match was very tight for the opening seven holes but then Rhodes played outstanding golf and his impressive driving and accurate iron play gave him a 5&3 win. The first point was Australia’s and now only needed four and a half additional points to reclaim the Sanctuary Cove Trophy.
Match two saw Sal Ballard up against New Zealander Arthur Parkin. Ballard led early and looked likely to win until Parkin produced some quality shots to square the match standing on the seventeenth tee. Unfortunately Ballard’s drive found the water and Parkin played safely for a par and a one up lead heading down eighteen. Ballard drove well but Parkin’s ball just scraped over the water hazard. Both players then missed the green with Parkin again very fortunate to finish just a metre from the green side lake. He then amazed everyone by holing his difficult pItch to win the hole and gain a full point for New Zealand.
Roy Vandersluis was up against Kiwi newcomer Reg fleet and the pair battled in an exciting match with only one hole in it for most of the day. It was Fleet who edged ahead over the final holes to take out this match on the seventeenth. It had been a close one but it was another point for the visitors.
Two ageless stars from each team faced each other in the next match – Vince Clark for Australia and Rodney Barltrop for New Zealand. Clark played beautifully from tee to green and had many chances to establish a big lead but could do nothing but watch as all of his putts failed to find the hole. Barltrop hung on and when he held a couple of tricky putts late in the day he too had won his match on the seventeenth hole.
Australia's John Banting was up against one of the Kiwis best matchplay golfers in Robbie Bell. It was a very tight match with both players fighting back when the other looked likely to move clear. Banting was two down playing seventeen but with the pressure on he played perfect golf on the closing holes to win them both and snatch a valuable half point for the home team.
Ian Frost was in search of his third win for the tournament when he faced up to classy Kiwi John Batley. During this tournament Frost demonstrated that he handles the pressure very well and in a most impressive debut at this level finished the week with a perfect record. Well done to Ian Frost and his 2&1 win meant another point for the Aussies who now needed just three more points from the remaining seven matches.
New Zealander John Sanders has a great individual record in the Sanctuary Cove Trophy and he kept this record intact with a wonderful display of golf in the very difficult conditions. He did not drop a shot and was under par in defeating Trevor Hughes who could only watch on as Sanders recorded a comfortable win.
Queenslander Steve Toyne had played and beaten Kiwi star Michael Barltrop a few weeks earlier in the Australian Senior Amateur Matchplay Championship and the pair were again doing battle. Toyne trailed early but then rallied to take the lead and was two holes ahead with two to play. An unexpected three putt on seventeen gave the hole to Barltrop and a very clever pitch on the last then gave Barltrop a squared match. Half a point to each country.
Mick Streit was two down early in his match against quality New Zealander Tony Treen and although he fought on well the match remained that way for the rest of the day with Treen yet another Kiwi to win on the second last hole. It was now becoming difficult for Australia to find the extra points they needed to win back the trophy.
Australia’s Barry Tippett had recorded two wins in the foursomes and fourballs but would face the very tough competitor Frank Borren from New Zealand in his quest to remain undefeated. Tippett played well but Borren played his usual rock solid golf over the opening nine to lead and then putted superbly to increase this lead and eventually win the match 3&2.
Australia now needed to win both the remaining matches to reclaim the trophy. The first ever representative from the Northern Territory, Tom Harold, was up against the very best of the New Zealanders in long-hitting Andy McKechnie. The Kiwi got off to great start and opened up a four hole lead. Harold kept trying and reduced this to two holes on the seventeenth tee. Both played the hole well but when McKechnie halved the hole and won the match the trophy was heading back across the ditch once again.
Australia’s well-known senior star Stefan Albinski was up against another super star in New Zealander Murray Martin. Both players have won both the Australian and New Zealand Senior Amateur Championship in their careers. It was a head-to-head battle between great competitors with Albinski leading into the back nine before Martin drew square heading down the fifteenth. Played into the teeth of a very strong wind Albinski hit a driver and then another one from the fairway to just three metres from the hole. His birdie putt dropped in and he was one up and went on to win the number one match 3&1.
Australia had gone very close but just failed to take charge over the closing holes that often make the difference between winning and losing. There was only one match in it with the Kiwis winning by 13 points to 11. The Kiwis celebrated while the Aussies congratulated them and quietly pondered their missed putt and bad bounces.
The Sanctuary Cove Golf club had once again produced another great event and were warmly thanked by all the players and officials during the presentation ceremony that followed. Thanks and recognition was also given to Golf Australia who had provided funding for the event for the first time and this was acknowledged and appreciated by golfers from both countries.
Next year the challenge will continue with the event to be played at the Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand in the middle of February. Immediately preceding the Sanctuary Cove Trophy will be the New Zealand Senior Amateur Championship at the nearby Paraparaumu Golf Club.
Australia will once again work hard to select a top quality team for the tenth playing of the Sanctuary Cove Trophy. The 2015 captain Tony Kennings will again lead the team and has already begun his planning to produce a winning result and a chance to hold the trophy high and bring it back to Australia. A great tournament and still the pinnacle of senior golf in both countries!
This annual event began in 2007 and is played using the same format as the Ryder and President Cups and is just as exciting and prestigious an event to the twenty four golfers who compete every year.
The event rotates between Australia and New Zealand annually. When played in Australia it is played at the Sanctuary Cove Golf Club while in New Zealand the venue is always one of the countries best courses - Titirangi in 2008, Clearwater in 2010, Christchurch in 2012 and now Muriwai in 2014.
After nine years of competition the score stands at six wins for New Zealand and three wins for Australia. The 2016 tournament will be played in February at Royal Wellington GC.