Betts makes his impact
Whitby golfer James Betts played his part in Wellington’s victory in the national interprovincial golf tournament.
Wellington defeated North Harbour 4-1 in the final at Paraparaumu Beach on December 11.
It is the first time the region has won the title since 2001.
Betts won some close matches late in the pool phase and in his semifinal against Otago.
He had an up-and-down tournament in the No 5 spot, but said he was ‘‘over the moon’’ about taking the title, and pleased to make an impact on the tournament after a nervy start.
‘‘I think we were all pretty nervous at the start of the final, but we all had the belief that if we kept doing what we were doing that we would do well.’’
Betts played a crunch match on December 10, when the teams were drawn two games each and, with two holes to play, he and Southland’s Matt Tautari were locked up.
A tie would have left Wellington with an uphill battle to make the semifinals, but Betts stood up, scoring a birdie on the second-to-last hole, before nailing a onemetre birdie putt at the last to win the match one-up.
‘‘I had to win that match because otherwise we could have been out.’’ Wellington went on to destroy Canterbury 5-0 in the second game, securing top spot in the pool, and setting up a semifinal with Otago.
Betts won again in the semi, two-up over Tyrone Ratahi, before another tight battle in the final against North Harbour.
He and Cardno were tied heading into the final hole. When Cardno hit his drive into a bunker the game swayed in Wellington’s favour, but then he played one of the shots of the tournament to all but secure the win.
‘‘It is one of the best shots I have ever seen,’’ said Betts.
‘‘He played it from the bunker about 170 metres out, and landed it about one metre from the pin.’’
Cardno drained his eagle putt to win the match, leaving Betts with a nervous wait to see how other results went, but the rest of the Wellington team won their matches.
Wellington’s Tom Brockelsby was named player of the tournament.
Local boy: James Betts tees off against North Harbour’s Tom Cardno.
Champions: The Wellington team, from left, Tom Brockelsby, Peter Spearman-Burn, Ben Campbell, Adam Church, Carl Tupangaia and Whitby’s James Betts celebrate.