The Southland women's masters golf team will be bidding for an unprecedented fifth consecutive national title when it tees off at the New Zealand Women's Masters Tournament in Feilding this week.
It has been less than six months since the Southland team wrote its way into the history books with its fourth national title in as many years; winning the tournament by 11 shots on home turf at SBS Bank Invercargill Golf Club.
But a change in tournament date - due to the November date being too close to the Women's Interprovincial Tournament - has meant they have had little time to even etch the Southland name on the trophy.
The Southland team includes the familiar names Robyn Boniface, Robyn Pullar, Kerry Mariu and Fiona Murray; an unchanged lineup from that which won the tournament in November.
Many of the other regions have also named unchanged teams from those that played in Invercargill.
Although that - and the good scores all four Southland players have carded during trials - will add to the team's confidence, Boniface admits it may not all be smooth sailing, particularly given the conditions in the North Island.
"I have heard it is very dry up there, so it might come down to the luck of the bounce," she said.
"If it's dry, everyone's in the equation, everyone is going to get a lot of run and it will really even out the teams. It's never an easy tournament to win . . . We are confident we've got four good players that can have four good scores and when it's only your top three that count, that's good for us."
When asked in the past about just what creates such a successful team record, the team has been quick to point out that it's not just about what happens on course.
The team members are good friends off the course and always willing to help each other out.
Boniface also credited the knowledge and advice of coach John Griffin, who would be on call during the three-day tournament.
Southland has not only dominated the team standings in recent years, but has also maintained a strong hold on the national individual title.
Boniface won it four years in a row, before Pullar won it last year, and the team will be eagerly looking to bring both the team and individual titles home yet again.
The team will head north today and will get two practice rounds on the course. The tournament tees off at Feilding Golf Course on Friday.
- © Fairfax NZ News