It didn’t have the biffo, but Queensland and New South Wales fought out a classic Interstate Teams Championship state-of-origin-style tussle today.
And with a likely final berth against Victoria on the line, it came right down to the last match until Queensland emerged victorious 4-3 after a gripping battle.
The states alternated victories in a tense final hour with some brilliant shot-making under pressure.
But ironically, the 17th hole – the 11th at Huntingdale – halved in bogeys was enough for national squad member Cory Crawford to seal a 2&1 victory in the No.2 match for the Queenslanders to be in front when it mattered.
The result left Queensland tied for second with Western Australia on the ladder with Victoria clear and assured of its final berth.
But WA has the bye in the final round tomorrow, meaning any points from either NSW or Queensland will eliminate it.
Queensland will advance with a win over South Australia, while New South Wales will qualify with a win over the Northern Territory and a Queensland halve or worse.
Tasmania’s afternoon 4.5-2.5 loss to WA took it out of contention, while South Australia ensured Northern Territory will finish seventh with a 7-0 thumping of the newcomers.
Crawford, Jake McLeod, Blake Proverbs and Anthony Quayle all saluted for Queensland against NSW, which had Kevin Yuan, Troy Moses and Cam Davis victorious.
Quayle, originally from the NT, was sublime in the No.7 match winning 6&4 to set the ball rolling and from then on, McLeod said it had a “state of origin feel” to it.
“It’s a big rivalry, especially in league, so it feels good,” McLeod said.
“We were looking pretty good with (Quayle) and Blake had a late win on the 17th before things got a bit tighter … it’s a great feeling to win a tight one like that as a team.”
McLeod, who has won 3.5 of a possible five points this week largely by weaving magic with his putter, said his 4&2 result over Travis Smyth belied the match’s closeness.
“Trav played well (but) I just putted well and made a few too many birdies for him in the end.
“They’re nice and receptive (greens), so you can land it up next to the pin, hit it close and give it a good roll – I like them.”
But McLeod said there was no room for complacency with South Australia more than capable of an upset on Thursday morning.
“We can’t get a head of ourselves. We’ve just got to play our own game and get the wins we need to get in the final.”
Earlier in the day, Victoria – which had the afternoon bye –became the first team through courtesy of its impressive depth.
Despite Jarryd Felton’s impressive win over Victorian ace Ryan Ruffels the hosts won through 4.5-2.5.
The Vics, though, turned to Brett Coletta (2-up over Kiran Day), skipper Ben Eccles (4&2 over Min Woo Lee) and unsung heroes David Micheluzzi and Thomas Power-Horan to seal a place in the final before having the afternoon off.
Coach Marty Joyce was delighted with his team’s even performance.
“They’re doing a very good job all the way through. The bottom four have been playing fantastic which is nice because a lot of the battles have been close going into the back nine,” Joyce said.
“It gives us great confidence, absolutely. The team is very strong as a whole and a lot of the guys could be playing in different spots.
“But the nice thing is they’re more comfortable playing in their spot, playing for a win and not worried about what position they’re in because at the end of the day we need four wins each time, regardless of where they come from.”