By Dr Pilipus Garpet, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 18 – Papua New Guinea won all four gold medals on a dramatic day at Royal Port Moresby Golf Course on Saturday, with Soti Dinki and Kristine Seko taking out the men’s and women’s individual events while both PNG teams grabbed gold.
Local hero Soti Dinki was mobbed by fans as he trooped up the hill from the 18th green to hand in a scorecard of 74 that put him four shots clear of overnight leader William Howard (COK).
Dinki’s cool demeanour and local knowledge told the story as he recorded a four-round total of 10-over 298. Howard, meanwhile, gave up his four-shot overnight lead and crashed to a 10-over final round of 82 and 302 in total.
Reigning 2011 champion, Adrien Peres from New Caledonia, bagged a bronze medal after carding a 75 and 304 for four rounds, just one shot ahead of Vanuatu’s Josepho Matuatu who shot 77 in his final round.
In the women’s tournament, Kristine Seko withstood the pressure test to win gold and helped the PNG team to victory in the process.
Seko hit a solid 74 in blustery conditions to finish up four shots clear of Elmay Viking from Cook Islands, who carded 76 to win silver, while New Caledonia’s Arianne Klotz took bronze after slipping with a final round 78.
Seko began the day just one shot ahead of Klotz with Viking a further shot behind, but she said day four had a more tranquil feel than the anxiety of her third round 80, which brought her back to the field.
“Not nervous, just calm I think,” Seko said when asked if there were any final round nerves.
“I was calm and just quietly talking to myself, saying ‘you know you can do this, just hang in there’ and yeah, it came together.”
“Yesterday, I was a bit down,” Seko said. “I knew that I sort of let the team down as well as myself with how I played.
“I just got over-anxious I think and I was rushing but I pulled it together towards the end, but today makes up for yesterday.
“Individual and team gold, so I’m ecstatic, just lost for words.”
PNG took gold in the men’s team event, dropping just one of the four shots it led by after round three. Dinki, Brian Taikiri, Wally Ilake and Steven George combined to tally 917 for PNG, three shots clear of silver medallists New Caledonia (920), with Fiji (929) taking bronze.
In the women’s team event PNG also took gold, snatching back the lead it surrendered to New Caledonia on day three. The PNG four-round tally of 947 was four shots ahead of silver medallist New Caledonia (951) with Cook Islands taking bronze with 979.
The excellent final rounds from Seko, Margaret Lavaki (78) and Hazel Martin (79) ensured PNG finished ahead of the New Caledonians.