McDonald makes move
Lachie McDonald's low round of the tournament played a major part in the Manawatu-Wanganui team finishing second at the Southland Invitational yesterday.
It came in the first round when the leftie led the field with his 7-under-par 65, a score no-one bettered.
When the four-round teams' strokeplay finished at Otatara near Invercargill yesterday, Auckland had won the event for the 11th time, but McDonald was the fourth individual at 5-under.
In that 65, McDonald hit an amazing 17 greens; no wonder he made seven birdies and did not drop a shot. That was his best effort in five visits to the Otatara event.
"It was nice to put a good one on the board," he said. "I didn't go as well in the last few rounds.
"The body is pretty sore after this week. I have played a lot of golf this year; this was about my 30th round and I'm starting to feel like I'm playing all right."
Although he finished with a non-counting 73 yesterday, all of the work he is putting in at Hokowhitu is paying off, almost stepping out of the shadow of his team-mates, New Zealand players Josh Munn and Tyler Hodge.
They had only a day to spare after returning from the Ten Nations Cup in South Africa before flying to Invercargill, so no wonder they did not burn up the Otatara course.
Munn started with two non-counting scores, pulled it back yesterday but finished 31st at 9 over. Hodge tied for 16th at 4-over.
Munn did not fly home today. He and Gore's New Zealand player Vaughan McCall were the two amateurs invited to play the NZPGA Championship at The Hills near Queenstown this week.
After that he and Hodge fly off to play in the Riversdale Cup in Australia.
It was not easy yesterday as defending champions Manawatu-Wanganui set off in pursuit of Auckland's 11-shot overnight lead and pulled three shots back after round 3. A 40-minute fog delay meant everyone was catching up all day.
Last year, Manawatu-Wanganui went 19 under in the last round to force Auckland to a playoff, which Munn won.
Auckland and Manawatu-Wanganui had been tied after the first round while yesterday Manawatu-Wanganui held off Southland and Otago by 11 shots.
"We're pretty happy," McDonald said. "It was a big call to try and pull them in.
"In the last three national events we have won the SBS, been second at the interprovincial and then second here; that's really good."
The Manawatu-Wanganui scores. -
Lachie McDonald (Marton) 65 73 72 73*, 4; Trent Munn 70 73 74 71, tie 6; Tyler Hodge (Levin) 72 76 73 71 tie 16; Junior Tatana (Foxton) 75 74 76* 71, tie 25; Josh Munn 77* 78* 70 72 tie 31. * non-counting score.