Victoria claims third straight Interstate Teams win
The Victorian Men’s State team has won a third successive Interstate Series claiming the title on a count back from New South Wales after the teams finished four matches a piece in the final at The Tasmanian Golf Club in Hobart on Friday.
Earlier that morning New South Wales sat atop the round robin ladder and a finals spot guaranteed with Victoria first needing to overcome Tasmania to even get a shot at defending its crown. Victoria went onto win that match 4½-2½.
The other morning contest had Western Australia against NSW which dinted NSW having a clean sweep after a WA 5½-1½ win. The result ultimately damaged the Blue’s chances as they finished the round robin format on the same points as the Victorians both on contests and individual matches won.
The Golf Australia Interstate Series rules stipulated that if the two teams drew in the final, the outcome would be determined in how many matches were won by players at the No.1 position in each team through the round-robin matches and that fell Victoria’s way 3-2½.
“It might not be a conventional way to win, but we finished on top and that’s all that matters,” said Victorian captain Blake Collyer.
“Even though it’s a different looking team to the previous two years, we’re really thrilled to make it three wins in a row for the state.”
The Victorian Men’s State Team celebrate their win (Credit: Anthony Powter)
The eight man final was another close interstate contest similar to previous years where the smallest of margins exists between victory and defeat. NSW picked up two matches early with Jye Picken at number 8 accounting for Konrad Ciupek, 3&2, in the opening match. Lucas Higgins at number 7 then secured an impressive 5&4 win over Aiden Didone.
When Harrison Crowe playing in the 6th position held off a determined Lukas Michel in an extremely tight contest with a 2&1 win, NSW looked steady to claim its first title since 2016.
NSW captain Blake Windred also put on a stellar performance to account for Blake Collyer 6&5 to add to the momentum.
But the upper order of the Victorian team were relentless.
Kyle Michel at number 2 played impressive golf in his match against Nathan Barbieri with a 4&3 victory and Andre Lautee was too strong against Jordie Garner at number 4 with a 6&5 victory. When Matias Sanchez accounted for Josh Armstrong with a 2&1 win at number 3, the Victorians had swung the series around in their favour.
With Darcy Brereton comfortably 2-up with two to play against James Conran, NSW needed a half to secure the victory. Conran responded with a solid par on the 17th for a win to keep NSW hopes alive as the pair headed down the par-3 18th.
When Conran’s tee shot was blocked left to finished plugged in the greenside trap, the door was open for Brereton. However, he was also feeling the pressure and finished well short of the green.
Brereton needed to execute a delicate chip over a bunker to a short sided pin position which he did, before winning the hole for a 2-up result and Victoria’s fourth Interstate title from five in what was a classic final.