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Top Gun and Reserve in Michigan shoot-out

Thursday 8 July 2010 | Published in Regional

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Last Saturday’s Michigan Motors Shoot-out lived up to its reputation as one of the premium events on the local golf calendar.

The drama started right at the first hole when Ned Howard went into the deep bunker and had trouble getting out.

He finished up having to go into a shootout with Tereapii Urlich and Royle Brogan to remain in the game.

Howard was drawn to play first and put his chip about 2cm from the hole.

The only way to beat that was to put the ball in the hole.

This was too big a task and he stayed in the game.

Another shoot-out was necessary on the second hole and included top female golfer Rotana Howard after she too had bunker trouble.

The third saw Henry Story miss a short putt but survive the shoot-out, while Alice Pilkinton, last year’s winner was not so lucky and it was the end of her competition.

On the fourth hole Rotana Howard and Tania Karati, the last two ladies in the competition, bowed out.

There had been much appreciation from the gallery for the way these two girls had been playing and they can be justly proud of their golf.

This was the first time that anyone could remember all the ladies being eliminated so early.

No one made the green on the fifth hole.

William Howard, the ‘Top Gun’ of the field, bladed his second shot and left it short but survived to carry on.

Henry Story, who hasn’t taken long to get back to form after his long absence from Raro, was unlucky and that was the end for him.

Ned Howard was the only player to par the sixth and looked to be striking winning form. Another of Raro’s top golfers, Sonny Karati, departed the competition here.

It looked like being a four way shoot-out on the seventh until Ned Howard missed his short putt, putting himself out of contention.

This left only William Howard, the ‘Top Gun’, Daniel Webb, Cook Islands representative golfer, and Ngatupuna Manuela, the reserve player, to contest the last two holes.

The eighth hole saw Manuela well off the green but he recovered with a brilliant chip to par the hole.

Howard also had a good chip leaving himself a tap in par. Daniel uncharacteristically left his chip short and missed the putt.

Daniel, last year’s runner up, departed the competition after playing good consistent golf. He never once had to take part in a shoot out to survive.

By this time a large gallery had gathered near the ninth green.

Howard hit a massive drive which was about 40 metres ahead of Manuela’s ball. Manuela put his second shot wide of the green to the left and Howard put his second pin high.

Manuela had another good chip onto the green. It was Howard to putt first and he slightly misjudged the line and the ball slid past the hole. He tapped on for four.

Manuela had an awkward curving putt to level the hole. He judged it perfectly and it never looked like missing.

Much to the jubilation of the crowd which had gathered, it was shoot-out time again.

‘Reserve’ Manuela was drawn to chip first.

He had been chipping brilliantly all day and his shot finished about a metre and a half from the hole.

‘Top Gun’ Howard stepped up to the mark and also hit a great shot to the green. His ball just kept rolling to finish about three metres from the hole. Manuela had won the day to be the Michigan Motors Shoot-out Champion.

Congratulations to Manuela and Howard, as well as all the other participants.

This Saturday is another entertaining competition, but one which all golfers can take part in, the Peter Fletcher Memorial Golf Tournament.

Make sure you pick your team and put your tee time on the board.