MEN: Blues roll, but Maroons big winners

Daniel Gale
Daniel Gale powers a drive during last year's Interstate Series, won by New South Wales. Picture: KIRSTY WRICE

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New South Wales remained unbeaten, but Queensland was the big winner on day two of the men’s Interstate Series at The Brisbane Golf Club.

Top-of-the-table NSW downed Tasmania 5.5-1.5 in the morning, then backed up with a 6-1 over a plucky South Australia in a contest that was far closer than the scoreline indicates.

But it was the hosts who outgunned two key rivals to put themselves right back in the mix to make Friday’s final after yesterday’s gut-wrenching loss to the Blues.

Queensland outduelled Victoria in a tight morning contest, then scythed through a talented Western Australia in the afternoon to restate their title ambitions emphatically.

Victoria, at 3-1, remains in second place, but still faces tough matches against WA and NSW after tomorrow morning’s bye.

Queensland, conversely, finishes the round-robin phase with contests against South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory – the latter pair of which effectively eliminated from contention.

New South Wales faces WA and Victoria tomorrow before Friday’s morning bye, with one point from either of those two big contests all but ensuring a berth in the Friday afternoon final.

Queensland and Victoria were neck and neck in their morning match before the Maroons gathered momentum in the closing stages.

The hosts then carried that surge into the afternoon and almost immediately put WA to the sword.

Rising star Charlie Pilon, the Australian Amateur medallist, put Queensland up with a bullet by stunning Ben Ferguson 7&6 in the No.3 match, unofficially six under through 12 holes after landing some huge putts.

Steven Cox continued the trend with a big 4&2 win at No.7 and Charlie Dann took out WA captain Ben Curnow at No.6.

The other matches were closer, but only Min Woo Lee – a 3&2 winner over Blake Proverbs – got the chocolates for the Sandgropers, with Queensland captain Anthony Quayle icing a great personal day with a 2&1 win over Curtis Luck in the top match.

The Victorians hammered the Northern Territory 7-0, clearly with fire in their bellies after their morning loss.

Which left the impressive young South Australian team to take it up to the heavily favoured NSW squad – a feat largely achieved until the closing few holes of most matches.

Daniel Gale was the exception with a commanding 5&3 win over Scott Ready, nursing home the lead after establishing that break by halfway.

Kevin Yuan then made a series of great par saves before a birdie up the last sealed a 1-up win over a plucky Heath Riches at No.7.

In one of the most entertaining – and quality – matches of the week to date, Blake Windred took until the last putt to subdue ultra-talented SA junior Ben Layton, who’d made some world-class scrambling pars to take the match up the last hole.

The match was played in perfect spirit between two good mates, highlighted by great sportsmanship by the young New South Welshman who called a penalty on himself that cost him any chance on the fourth-last hole at a crucial stage when he dislodged a leaf on a practice swing.

Dylan Perry continued his emergence with a 2&1 win over Sam Earl at No.5, then Cam Davis sealed the overall win with a 4&3 win at No.2.

But the showstopper – and sign of a high-quality clash – came when national squad member Harrison Endycott walked in an eagle putt on the last to halve the hole but win 1-up over William Somerfield who’d seconds earlier drained his own eagle chance.

The in-form Matt Lisk stunned NSW captain Travis Smyth in the No.1 match to give South Australia its lone point – and some justice for a great team effort that went largely unrewarded.

“We have been talking about being `world class’ all week – and I think we showed that again tonight,” a proud Endycott said afterwards.

“The boys are doing well when it matters and that’s what match play is all about.”

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