Emerre & Hathaway

Poverty Bay Open Championships 2023


Winner of the 2023 Poverty Bay Men's Open Championship Mark Smith receives the Keiha Cup from Emerre & Hathaway’s Stu Harbottle.


They’ll be back.

The two men who carried out a Bay of Plenty takeover of the 2023 Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay Men’s Open  are likely to return to the scene of their domination in November.

Mark Smith, of Rotorua golf club Springfield, defeated Craig Van Der Nagel, of Te Puke, on the 20th hole of the Keiha Cup championship 16 matchplay final on the Awapuni Links course (on Saturday, September 2)3.

Smith, playing in the PB Open for the first time, became the 47th player to win the title since the Open was first held in 1931.

And like the last BoP rep player to triumph in it — Landyn Edwards of Rotorua in 2011 — Smith did an Open silverware double, having earlier top qualified with a 36-hole strokeplay score of 145 (74, 71) to win the Scott Plate.

Smith and Mount Maunganui-based Van Der Nagel are good mates who travelled to Gisborne together.

Van Der Nagel, the nephew of local man Collin Jeffrey, was competing in it for the third time and with Poverty Bay hosting the Freyberg Masters national interprovincial from November 6, it was a great chance to check out the course.

The pair were highly impressed — Smith describing it in one word . . . “pure”.

Both men were relatively unchallenged en route to the PB Open ffinal.

Smith had not gone past 14 holes in his first two matches and was taken only one further by Patutahi’s Hukanui Brown in the Saturday morning semifinals before shaking hands.

Van Der Nagel also won his semi on the 15th against one of the stories of the tournament — 18-year-old Zach Rolls, who defeated Dean Williams (of Canterbury course Amberley) in the first round, then 2019 PB Open champion and Poverty Bay senior club champion Simon Jeune in the quarterfinals.

Left-hander Rolls, who won the third 16 at the PB Open last year, hung in to be square with Van Der Nagel after nine holes but fell away in the second nine.

His efforts earned him the Bill Donnelly Memorial Trophy awarded to the top all-round junior golfer.

The final was expected to be a high-quality affair although a stiff wind put paid to any McIlroy-like performances, particularly on the front nine of a course in which the order of holes was changed for the Open — the usual fifth hole becoming the 18th and the sixth converted to the 10th among the alterations.

At the halfway stage, the pair were locked all-square.

Smith won the 11th with a par after both men went into trees on opposite sides of the fairway, and he went 2-up with a birdie on the 14th.

Van Der Nagel’s putting kept him in it which he admitted later was a surprise as it wasn’t a strong part of his game.

Both men were short of the par-3 15th and opted to putt from well off the green.

Smith took three to get down, Van Der Nagel two and the deficit was one.

A superb wedge-hit third shot by Van Der Nagel to within gimme distance on the par-5 16th squared the match, and he sank a clutch 6-footer on the 17th for the half.

Van Der Nagel had a chance to close out a comeback win on the 18th but left his 18-footer birdie effort agonisingly short and the pair headed back to the first tee for a sudden-death playoff.

The shot of the final came on that par-5 hole. Smith missed the fairway right and while it was a reasonable lie, the ball was sitting in the rough above his feet with a large tree uncomfortably near his line.

He pulled out a 3-wood and flushed his ball to 15-feet of the hole.

Van Der Nagel had crushed his drive down the middle and his 5-iron-struck shot found  the heart of the green. His 30-foot eagle putt burned the edge of the hole and he watched nervously as Smith missed his eagle attempt.

Van Der Nagel made what proved a fatal mistake on the par-3 20th, putting his 9-iron tee shot into the left bunker.

Smith hit a 6-iron tee shot  under pressure to the front right, and after Van Der Nagel left his sand shot short and missed his par putt, Smith slotted a 2-footer for the title.

Walking back to the clubhouse afterwards, Smith paid tribute to his mate.

“If there was anyone I was going to lose  to, I would have been happy if it was him.”

Van Der Nagel was likewise complimentary of his mate who he has been encouraging to play more.

Van Der Nagel is one of two selectors for the BoP masters squad. There is a quadrangular to be played early next month before the team are finalised and Smith, on this showing and having led BoP to several national interprovincial titles in the past, is clearly in the mix.

In his prize-giving speech, Smith lauded the quality of the course, saying he had been “privileged” to have played great courses in his career and Poverty Bay was up there with the best.

Second 16 winner David Solomann, from Gisborne but now playing at Whitford Park in Auckland, also heaped praise on the course  and greenkeeping staff led by William Brown — the reigning PB Open champion who was unable to play due to a recent operation.

Solomann described it as “a treasure”.

Solomann chipped in for birdie on the 16th to win his final over Electrinet Park Ian Loffler, who deserved special mention for his attrition.

Loffler played six rounds over three days, then had to go back out yesterday for the Park intermediate men’s club championship final. He lost to Tom Reynolds.

Other division winners at the PB Open were Allan White (Poverty Bay, third 16); Carl Carmody (PB, fourth 16); Barry Matthews (Titirangi, fifth 16; Joe Tuoro (Hastings, sixth 16); and John Pittar (PB, seventh 16).

The tournament action came to a climax with the E&H/BDO Nearest Pin Challenge featuring seven finalists. Poverty Bay’s Deevon Gray put one of his two 100-metre attempts closest to the hole to win the $1000 Prezzy Card.

In what is surely a first at any tournament at Poverty Bay let alone the Open, two players — Marcel Campbell (Poverty Bay) and Chris Coleman (Hastings) — twice each made eagles on the 290m par-4 14th (usually the 10th) hole.

The pair drove the green each time — one of Campbell’s efforts finishing centimetres away from what would have been a historic hole-in-one.

The top 10 of the Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay Men’s Open:

10 — Fly like an eagle: It’s just not a PB Open without Marcel Campbell doing something outrageous. This time the pizzeria owner nearly holed his drive on the par-4 14th for a tap-in eagle and if that wasn’t enough, he banged it on to the same green again in another round — his ball hitting the flagstick which was lying on the green, saving it from going in the bunker, and he sank that putt for another eagle-2. Incredibly, Chris Coleman also had two eagles on that hole.

9 — Champion In Waiting: Sean Shivnan can only dream of winning the PB Open. The 31-handicapper loves playing in the Open and while he is a perennial wooden spoon potential when it comes to the 36 holes of strokeplay qualifying, he gets out there and gives it his best shot. This year he racked up a couple of centuries but had a bit of fun doing it . . . and earned his 19th-hole bevvy. Up the Shiv!

8 — Wittering Heights: Reece Witters achieved all of his goals at the 2023 PB Open. Not only did he make the top 16, he was the best local qualifier with a 155 total. That also gave him serious bragging rights over his golfing mates, and to top it off, he got to play with his boyhood local golfing idol — Waka Donnelly.

7 — Dee The Man: The Nearest The Pin Challenge played at the end of the Open has become the “party hole”, largely due to it being located on the 18th in front of the clubhouse with plenty of 19th-hole enthusiasts well oiled by the time the Challenge is held. This year the $1000 prize went to Deevon Gray, who put his second to about 20-feet of the hole.

6 — Zach Attack: If you had told 18-year-old Zach Rolls before the Open that he would make the championship 16 semifinals, he would have modestly cast his doubts. Rolls not only broke 80 twice in qualifying to earm the 11th seeding, he won his first two matches, including the prized scalp of 2019 PB Open winner and reigning senior club champion Simon Jeune in an extra-hole thriller. The prediction has been made that one day he and fellow teen leftie Marcus Gray will meet in the final.

5 — The Hard-learned Lesson: Tim Adamson qualified bottom of the 111-strong field, thanks to a “brain-exploding” moment when he picked up his ball from tap-in distance in the first round, recording a DNF instead of what would have been sub-80 had he putted out — and it came after shooting 74 in the practice round. Tolaga Bay hard Adamson brushed that setback aside and went on to make the final of the seventh 16, losing to local John Pittar.

4 — And The Cat Came Back: Mike “Patch” Parsons of Hawke’s Bay estimates he has played in the Poverty Bay Open 28 times. It’s probably more and it’s a lot more for the likes of home-course man Neil Mackie and seven-time PB Open champ Waka Donnelly. That says a lot about this tournament and its tradition that sees so many coming back year after year.

3 — ’Til The Fat Lady Sings: Simon Jeune looked down and out on the ninth hole in his match against Zach Rolls after the ball returned to his footprints after a couple of failed bunker shots. He got out for six, then sank a 25-footer and halved the hole with a triple-bogey. Gotta love golf.

2  — “A Treasure”: That was how former PB Open winner Dave Solomann described the Awapuni Links course, and no one was arguing. William Brown, his crew of greenkeepers and volunteers produced a course that some say is in its best condition ever, highlighted by sensational greens. You would be doing well to find better in the country. Take a bow, Team Willie.  

1 — The Boys From The Bay: Hats off to 2023 PB Open champion Mark Smith and runner-up Craig Van Der Nagel. Smith set the bar as the top qualifier despite not having a great deal of golf under his belt heading into this tournament while Van Der Nagel showed his class and had he managed to slot just one more of the many clutch putts he had, it could have been his name on the Keiha Cup trophy. Top blokes as well.


Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay Men’s Open, Keiha Cup championship 16 - Final: Mark Smith (Springfield) from Craig Van Der Nagel (Te Puke).

Consolation: Pete Stewart (Electrinet Park) from Tony Akroyd (Park).

Flight 1: Dan Collier (Park).

Flight 2: Marcel Campbell  (Poverty Bay).

2nd 16 - Final (Barrington-Miller trophy): David Solomann (Whitford Park) from Ian Loffler (Park).

Consolation: Dave Jenkins (PB) from Alex Kirkpatrick (PB).

Flight 1: Zane Boyle (Park).

Flight 2: Cedric Wallis (Waikanae).

Third 16 - Final: Allan White (PB) from Stefan Andreassen (PB).

Consolation: Craig Christophers (Park) from Dirk Bullivant (PB).

Flight 1: Richard Foddy (Hastings).

Flight 2: Eddie Brown Jr (Patutahi).

Fourth 16 - Final: Carl Carmody (PB) from Darryn White (PB).

Consolation: Tony Thorpe (Tai Tapu) from Hamish Williams (PB).

Flight 1: Toby Williams (PB).

Flight 2: Mark Thomas (PB).

Fifth 16 - Final: Barry Mathews (Titirangi) from John Smith (Hawke’s Bay).

Consolation: Ross Chalmers (PB) from Murray Wooster (Titirangi).

Flight 1: Matthew Chrisp (Te Puke).

Flight 2: Bruce Talbot (PB).

Sixth 16 - Final: Joe Tuoro (Hast) from David Gray (PB).

Consolation: Stu Harbottle (PB) from Charlie David (Park).

Flight 1: Neil Bell (Waikanae).

Flight 2: Neville West (PB).

Seventh 16 - Final: John Pittar (PB) from Tim Adamson (Tolaga Bay).

Consolation: Darren Patumaka (PB) from Larry Foster (PB).

Flight 1: Mike Parsons (Hast).

Flight 2: Manav Garewal (Hast).

36-hole strokeplay qualifying, gross (Scott Plate): Mark Smith (Springfield) 145 on c/b from Dan Collier (Electrinet Park).

Net: Gerald Kemp (PB) 134, Joe Sheridan (Tolaga Bay) 135.

Bill Donnelly Memorial Trophy for top all-round junior: Zach Rolls (PB).

Twos: D Solomann 4, S Andreassen 3, H Williams 2, D Patumaka 2, C Coleman 2, T Adamson 2, D Bradsheet, D White, A White, J Brown, S Amos, M Smith, D Collier, P Young, G Clapham, R Hindmarsh, I Logan, B Wilson, D Hodge, B Reynolds, M Campbell, D Bullivant, G Udall, H Keast, S Jenkins, T Williams, A Kupa, H Brown, E Brown.

Approaches: M Campbell, D Gray, G Udall, A White, D Williams, P Young.

Wednesday scramble, gross: T Adamson 74, A Goddard 75.

Net: T Adamson 64, I Loffler 71, R Cooper 73, D Solomann 73, G Waterhouse 73, D Sharp 73.

Twos: A Goddard, I Loffler, T Adamson.


Left to right in photo:

Rachel Young (Pataruru) 54 hole Matchplay Division 3 – Awapuni Salver winner

Robyn Orton (Hastings) 54 hole matchplay Division 2 – Sandown Salver  winner

Helen Cox (Hastings) 36 hole stableford Division 2 – Nick’s Head Cup winner

Colleen Skuse (PB) 36 hole stableford Division 3 – Midway Plate winner

Jacqui Rogers (Opotiki) 36 hole stableford Division 1 – Waikanae Cup winner

Noreen Johnson (PB) 18 hole stableford – Tatapouri Salver winner

Anne Witters (PB) 54 hole matchplay Championship Division – McFadyen Cup winner


Division One

Winner: Anne Witters

Runner Up: Lynne Holmberg

Consolation Winner: Carnie Nelson

Runner Up: Maxine Francois

Flight winner: Polly White

Flight Runner Up: Jan Utting

Division Two

Winner: Robyn Orton

Runner Up: Debbie Kirkpatrick

Consulation Winner: Miggles Shanks

Runner Up: Sharon Young

Flight winner: Theresa Lewis

Flight Runner Up: Louise Hansen

Division Three

Winner: Rachel Young

Runner Up: Marg Lane

Consulation Winner: Odette Thompson

Runner Up: Janny Pok

Flight winner: Sue Kemp

Flight Runner Up: Pen Wanklyn