Tare out to make mark in New Zealand Open

Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014
Tania Tare
LINING IT UP: Rookie Kiwi professional Tania Tare surveys the 18th hole at Clearwater yesterday.

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Tania Tare isn't a household name even in golf circles, but the Aucklander hopes a good week at her national open will change that and kickstart a fledgling professional career.

The half Kiwi, half Cook Islander this week plays her second New Zealand Women's Open - she played in the inaugural event at Clearwater as a 19-year-old amateur in 2009 - a couple of months after turning pro.

Late last year she finished a four-year business marketing degree at Florida International University in Miami, which she attended on a golf scholarship.

She's since turned pro and has played in a handful of pro-am events, though last week's New South Wales Open on the ALPG Tour was her first 54-hole event as a pro.

This week at Clearwater is her second, and the affable 25-year-old with an infectious smile is keen to make a statement.

"I don't have a tour to play on at the moment so it's all about having a good week at the right time. Hopefully this week will be it," she said yesterday after having her first peek at the Clearwater course, which she couldn't remember from five years ago.

Tare, who did a couple of years in sales in Auckland when she left school, before sending her CV to the States and getting "quite a few bites", would love to qualify for the top-tier LPGA Tour and base herself in the US, where she knows the culture, the courses and, crucially, is home to her coach.

She'll head to Q-school later this year but in the meantime hopes to play some of the mini-tours and get that big break. If the LPGA Tour doesn't work out this year, there's always Ladies European Tour Q-school.

Tare's a former top-five amateur player in New Zealand, about the time Cecilia Cho was No 1 and a young Lydia Ko was attracting a few early headlines.

She played a lot with Ko before she left for Florida. "When I look at her I think 'oh my God', we went two completely different paths and look at her now."

Mind you, Tare's career has been held back by injury during the past 18 months. She broke a wrist playing a college tournament but didn't realise it at the time and played on for a further two rounds, compounding injury to "the slowest healing bone in your body".

She then broke her other wrist last year. She also has a few scars from various incidents but hopes there won't be any scarring - mentally or physically - this week on a Clearwater layout that can bite the best of them.

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She'll be doing it, however, without a Kiwi headcover for her driver, which she recently lost, but her ever-present New Zealand 50 cent coin ball-marker will serve as the lucky charm this week - she always marks it tails-up - and next, when she tees up for the Australian Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast.

- Fairfax Media

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