Southland have made a comfortable start in their quest for four in a row at the New Zealand Women's Masters at the Invercargill Golf Club. They lead after the first round by three shots.
The district teams compete in a gross stableford format over four rounds, with the top three players' scores, from the team of four, counting each round.
Southland's captain Robyn Boniface, the leading individual at this tournament for the past four years, contributed to the team's total with 28 points. However, her fellow team member, Robyn Pullar, a member of Invercargill Golf Club, led Southland's charge with 34 points. Fiona Murray contributed also, with 29 points while Kerry Mariu's score (25) was the non-counting card.
Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay lie in second place, and are keen to secure the win that has eluded them since the tournament started in 1992. They have been the "bridesmaid" for the past three years, last year losing to Southland by one point. Janie Field, Kathy Olsen and Lynne Roberts all contributed to the Bay's score, combining for a team total of 88 points.
Manawatu/Wanganui won the championship in 1994 when the tournament was held at the Alexandra Golf Club. After this morning's round, they lie in third place, three shots back from Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay with 85 points. They are also fielding an experienced team in Karen Manninen, Jenny Ritchie and Caroline Scott.
Bay of Plenty and Auckland have had many wins between them in the tournament's history.
Bay of Plenty won a record five times (a record they share with Canterbury), the last time in 2003 when the tournament was played at the Te Awamutu Golf Club. They lie in fourth place with 82 points, one shot clear of Auckland.
Auckland were winners in 2008 at Otago Golf Club, which was their fourth Masters title.
In sixth place overall is North Harbour (80 points) followed by seventh placed Wellington who are tied with Otago on 79 points. Harbour and Otago have yet to win a Women's Masters title whereas Wellington did in 2006.
Vaha Fapiano, from North Harbour, joined Pullar in having the best round of the day with 34 points.
The fourth and final round is scheduled to tee off tomorrow morning from 8.30am.
Results in Draws and results
- The Southland Times