The Southland women's golf team might not have got the start it wanted at the Toro Interprovincial in Dunedin after two losses on the opening day's play yesterday, but it is taking plenty of positives from two close matches.
Southland is being represented at the national tournament this week by Robyn Pullar, Angela Gerken, Olivia Frost, Kerry Mariu and Bronwyn O'Brien.
It was a tough introduction to the St Clair Golf Club-hosted tournament, but the team performed admirably, almost causing a first-up upset against Bay of Plenty - who have won the national title 17 times - yesterday morning before narrowly losing 3-2.
Pullar won her match against Zoe Brake 2/1, Gerken beat Grace Senior 1up and Frost was narrowly beaten 1up by Tyla Kingi.
The afternoon's game - a 4 - loss to Manawatu/Wanganui - also went close, with three of the games not decided until the 18th hole. Pullar fought back from being three-down to win the last three holes and square her match, while Mariu also put in a good performance.
Southland manager Robyn Boniface says the team can take heart from some good play.
"We are having a little bit of strife on the greens, the putts don't seem to be dropping, but we'll look for a better day with rounds three and four and go from there," she says.
"There are really positive signs. Everyone is in a good frame of mind, we just need to get out there and do it. We nearly caused an upset against Bay of Plenty and just let it go at the end."
Many of the favoured teams managed to survive scares yesterday, with Southland's challenge against Bay of Plenty mirrored as Wellington, Waikato and Canterbury were all made to sweat in the opening rounds of the seven-round championship.
Auckland and North Harbour, the finalists at Whakatane last year, made solid starts winning their only matches over Aorangi and Tasman respectively after having the bye.
Southland will play Northland and North Harbour today.
DAY ONE RESULTS
Round 1: Otago 4-Aorangi 1, Canterbury 4-Hawke's Bay 1, Waikato 3-Taranaki 2, Northland 4-Tasman 1, Wellington 3-Man/Wang 2, BOP 3-Southland 2. Round 2: North Harbour 4-Tasman 1, Wellington 4-Northland 1, Man/Wang 4 -Southland , Auckland 4 -Aorangi . --------------------
- The Southland Times