McLean will need to be on his game

Invercargill golfer Tyler McLean might go into the Southland Matchplay Championships today as favourite to take the title, but his competition is set to be tough as close to 60 of the south's top golfers prepare to tee off.

With the championships being played at SBS Bank Invercargill Golf Club, McLean boasts home course advantage and comes off some good form, having played for the Invercargill team that won the recent MLT President's Pennants. He's also the defending champion andwon't be relinquishing the title easily.

He will however have tough competition. Fellow Southland representative Jeremy Hall - who McLean beat in last year's final - will also have an eye on the prize, and most of the Southland masters' representatives, including the experienced Paul Adams, Karl Mariu and Gary Radka, are contesting the championships.

At least seven Otago golfers will also make the trip south for the weekend's play, which will start with qualifying this morning and finish with finals tomorrow afternoon.

The women's field too, should be competitive, with familiar names on the Southland representative scene all set to line up, including defending champion Robyn Boniface, fresh from winning her 21st consecutive club championship at Queens Park, Robyn Pullar and Angela Gerken.

Boniface, who is also Golf Southland chair, said while organisers would have liked to have seen more golfers play in the championships, they were expecting high quality golf from the field.

"It would have been nice to see a few more players in the field, but we have no doubt that those that are playing will [perform] to a high standard and are expecting a competitive and enjoyable weekend," she said.

There is also a 4BBB tournament tomorrow, for those not playing in the championships. All golfers are welcome, with a tee-off at 10.30am.

The Southland Times