Southland sits only one shot behind the leading Waikato team after the first round of the New Zealand Golf Women's Masters in Taranaki.
Waikato have started their campaign for a third win in the tournament, leading the 14 districts after day one at the Inglewood Golf Club.
Solid rounds by Jill Morgan and Robyn Pellow both contributing 31 gross stableford points set the pace, with Julie Gee putting in a 30, to give the team a total of 92. The best three gross stableford points from the teams of four, contribute round by round. In this round, Pam Wright with 28 points, was the non-counting player for the ‘Moo-loos’.
Lurking only one shot behind is the strong Southland team, led again by Robyn Boniface. Southland dominated this tournament between 2008 and 2015 with six wins amassed over the 7-year stretch. Boniface contributed 33 points, with Robyn Pullar 28, and Helen Baird 30. Non-counting was Fiona Murray, with 22 points.
A revitalised North Harbour team sit in 3rd equal place with defending champions Northland. Harbour have added the talented Pam Sowden to their team. Sowden returned to amateur status after a stint on the European tour, after earlier playing number one for the inaugural North Harbour team, who won the interprovincial title at Titirangi in 1995. The same year she was in the New Zealand team who beat Australia in the Tasman Cup.
Both Sowden and Harbour’s No 1, Vaha Fapiano had 31 points each. Fapiano has shown consistency year after year representing Harbour, with this mornings effort particularly notable as she battled on with a nasty stomach virus. Lynda Tate contributed 28 points, with Fleur Reynolds the non-counting player, with 22.
Best round of the day belonged to Northland’s Kylie Jacoby, with 34 points. Jacoby is the current holder of the Canterbury Shield, awarded as the leading individual in the 2017 Masters. Northland wrote the history books last year in Ngaruawahia when they took the coveted Russell Grace Trophy and the 2017 crown, for the first time in the tournaments 26 year history.
Northland team members Alayna Cox and Jenny Peters both contributed 28 points in today’s opening round with Jo Taylor the non-counting player, 25 points.
The 2018 tournament is the second time that Taranaki have hosted the Women’s Masters. Kaitake hosted the 2004 championship which Auckland won. This year the Inglewood Golf Club received the hosting rights.
A small club, 20 minutes outside of New Plymouth, like many Taranaki clubs, views of Mt Taranaki dwarf the course. The course has been lengthened slightly for this year’s tournament with players extended on the par 3, 5th, the par 4, 9th and the par 3, 17th. Despite this lengthening the course is still a ‘short’ course measuring only 4423 metres, with a slope of 111 and a NZCR rating of 67.6. It presents an unusual challenge with six par 3’s measuring from 103 to 176 metres. There are only two par 5’s however, tight off many tees, only one hole does not have some water hazard or feature to test the players resolve.
Teams that will be wanting to gain some ground tomorrow include Auckland on 88 points chasing their 5th win, Aorangi, also led by a past professional, Catherine Knight, and the Bay of Plenty who, although have won the tournament 5-times, have not done so since 2003. Aorangi, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki, all sit on 86 points, only 6 points shy of Waikato.
There is however much golf to go with the 56 Masters players facing 36 holes tomorrow, juggling their way into contention before Sunday’s final.
1 92 WAIKATO; J Morgan 31, R Pellow 31, J Gee 30, P Wright 28 (n/c)
2 91 SOUTHLAND; R Boniface 33, R Pullar 28, H Baird 30, F Murray 22 (n/c)
3= 90 NORTH HARBOUR; V Fapiano 31, P Sowden 31, L Tate 28, F Reynolds 22 (n/c): NORTHLAND; K Jacoby 34, A Cox 28, J Taylor 25 (n/c), J Peters 28
5 88 AUCKLAND; S Kelly 32, B Holford 27 (n/c), L Creedy 28, A Drake-Wells 28
6= 86 AORANGI; C Knight 29, G Bolderston 30, S Bradford 27, P Bell 23 (n/c): BAY OF PLENTY; D Syer 32, S McElroy 28, D Noble 26, P Lawson 24 (n/c): TARANAKI; S Garner 28, D McCallum 30, J McDonald 28, K Lucas 23 (n/c)
9 85 MANAWATU WANGANUI; L Herbert 31, V Walker 25, C Scott 21 (n/c), K Wehipeihana 29
10= 83 HAWKES BAY / POVERTY BAY; J Field 30, F Ellis 25, K Olsen 28, L Roberts 24 (n/c)
: WELLINGTON; K Orchard 23 (n/c), F McBride 29, K Wall 25, C Hawe 27
12 80 CANTERBURY; K Turner 29, J Kent 25 (n/c), C Kemp 25, V Faass 26
13 79 OTAGO; L McRae 26, J Booker 29, R Calder 24, T Storer 20 (n/c)
14 76 TASMAN; T Bary 29, D Mitchell 22 (n/c), N Reed 23, M Reardon 24