Five years of heartbreak has come to an end for the Lower Waitaki Golf Club.
Lower Waitaki won back the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2017, beating the North Otago Golf Club in the annual competition last weekend.
Following the first day of foursome and 4BBB play, Lower Waitaki and North Otago were dead even at six-all.
On Sunday, the two clubs headed out for match play and Lower Waitaki was victorious winning 13 and a-half points, to North Otago’s 10 and a-half.
Lower Waitaki secretary Ian Moore said the club was thrilled to claim the Ryder Cup again.
“The boys were so excited. We got together, had a chat in the clubhouse about how we wanted to perform for the day and it went really well,” Moore said.
The 12-man team, including Moore, was a strong unit this year, gelling together as a team both on and off the green.
Captain Brent Maw spoke to the team about the importance of supporting one another, and it paid off.
“He said your match today, you’re going to stay out there and go and support the rest of your players’,” Moore said.
“I was one of the last players coming in … what was really cool was we had 10 of our other members out there supporting us.
“We would’ve had 25 to 30 club members walking around those last few holes – it was fantastic.”
Lower Waitaki’s preparation for the Ryder Cup made the difference, Moore said.
Following club championships in May, the top players from the senior, intermediate and junior grades were placed on a Ryder Cup ladder, and members could challenge them for their place.
For the next four months, players competed in matchplay, and when someone on the ladder was beaten, they dropped down a spot and another member took their place.
It meant players were always having to “re-challenge” those in a higher position.
It strengthened the team’s ability and the enthusiasm from the players was “absolutely amazing”, he said.
“For many years now North Otago have won, so we sort of took it upon ourselves to say with these guys’.
“The boys were really keen to play North Otago and thought we had a chance, where last year we got dorked.”
The Oamaru Ryder Cup was created 23 years ago by Oamaru’s Ian Ryder, to create a local rivalry competition between Lower Waitaki and North Otago.
Oamaru’s competition follows a similar format as the international Ryder Cup, and is played on the same weekend.