Robbins takes match for struggling Tasman

Tasman struggled while Auckland began their challenge for the 2012 Freyberg Masters title in ominous form on day one at the Maraenui Golf Club in Napier.

Auckland looked the real deal yesterday morning with a convincing 4-1 win over Manawatu-Wanganui before surviving a scare from hosts Hawke's Bay in the afternoon to eventually win 3-2.

The match was all tied up with three holes to play before Mike Leitch holed an 8-metre putt on the eighth, his second to last hole, to go 1 up and then parred the last to win the tie.

Tasman lost both their games, going down 4-1 to Hawke's Bay before a 3-2 afternoon loss to Southland. Wayne Robbins won Tasman's only first-round match at No 3, comfortably beating Hawke's Bay's Paul Beachen 5 and 4, although John Murray's and Matt Bulfin's matches were both decided on the 18th hole.

No 1 Murray lost 1 down to Tony Sutherland and No 2 Bulfin by the same margin to Steffan Hepburn, while Lachland McKay beat No 4 Lyell Marfell 6 and 5 and Gary Campbell beat No 5 Blair Bavin 5 and 3.

Robbins and Marfell each halved their second-round matches with Southland's Blair Sinclair and Gary Radka respectively, while Bavin recorded Tasman's only win, beating Paul Adams 6 and 4. Karl Mariu beat Murray 3 and 2 and Glenn Sutherland beat Bulfin 3 and 2.

Auckland, Aorangi and Taranaki all sit at the top of the leaderboard after going unbeaten through two matches, while Canterbury and Wellington won their one match yesterday.

The 2008 and 2009 champions Wellington survived a scare of their own against a strong-looking Northland team, but held on to win 3-2.

Defending champions Canterbury, who were so impressive last year in their win at Levin Golf Club, cruised to a 5-0 win over Poverty Bay to begin their title defence on the right note.

Auckland No 1 Brent Paterson, who recently managed the New Zealand team to the Eisenhower Trophy in Turkey, was impressive leading the way for his team.

Paterson was three under in the morning to win 1 up over Malcolm Wells (Manawatu-Wanganui) and four under in the afternoon as he beat Tony Sutherland (Hawke's Bay) 3 and 2.

The Nelson Mail