Manawatu Wanganui is competing in this event for the first time. The team is: Brydie Hodge, Emma Clayton, Amber-Rose Thompson-Newth, Katherine Paskins, Kyra Garrett and Tara Raj. The top three players compete off the stick, while the other three will compete off their handicaps. The event is being played at Rotorua Golf Club, with matches starting on Tuesday. This event has 10 provinces competing.
Round 1 Tuesday 8th Oct am
This morning was the first round of the Junior Interprovincial, and for a couple of players, Tara Raj and Kyra Garrett this was their first real taste of representative play. For them this is very much a development event to learn more about competitive golf. Our top 3 players competing off the stick were expected to be very competitive throughout the event against their opposition. Emma Clayton and Amber-Rose Thompson-Newth both began with excellent wins. Brydie Hodge, playing at number one, had a close match but a strong start and finish from her very strong opposition meant a first round defeat despite some pretty good golf. Katherine Paskins at number 4 also had a close match, and eventually went down 2/1. Kyra Garrett struggled a little bit perhaps from nerves and was outplayed in her match. Tara Raj on the other hand at just 10 years of age, showed some amazing grit to bounce back after being 4 down with 4 to play, to win all four remaining holes to halve her match - absolutely superb for a young girl not much bigger than her golf bag, and in her first representative match - definitely a talent to watch out for in coming years.
The result unfortunately went the way of the Auckland team 3.5 - 2.5, but still a positive performance early in the competition.
Round 2 Tuesday 8th Oct pm
The afternoon round was against a strong looking Canterbury side - the only team competing from the South Island. Brydie again found the start tough with her opponent getting to 4 under early in the match. Brydie battled hard to get back to just 1 down with a few holes to play. A lost ball on her 17th however meant the end of her match going down 2/1. Emma also found herself against a strong competitor, and at one stage found herself 3 down. Emma also fought hard to get back to square for the match heading down the final hole. Both girls hit their approaches to the last close, and both also converted their birdies to finish the match all square. Amber-Rose again played solid golf throughout her round to make it 2 wins from 2 matches on day win, winning 3/2 - a great start to the tournament. Katherine was up through most of her match and finished strongly to get her first win of the event 2/1. Kyra played some pretty good golf at times throughout her match but eventually went down to her much more experienced opponent. However the real highlight for the team on day one was the final match out on the course involving Tara Raj. Again Tara found herself 4 down late in her match against a much more experienced competitor. And again Tara started clawing her way back into the match one step at a time to eventually find herself just one down and heading down the final hole. Tara showed nerves of steal to hole a putt to win her final hole and again earn a remarkable half, but this time to earn a valuable half overall for the team. I can honestly say I have never seen such grit and determination in a golfer so young. Tara epitomises what this event is all about - developing future talent. Manawatu Wanganui Golf will benefit from sending teams to this event, for the future of representative play.
All and all, I would say that while we are not leading after day one, it was still a very successful day, and we look forward to the one round that is played tomorrow morning against North Harbour.
Round 3 Wednesday 9th Oct am
Rotorua had lots of rain overnight and unfortunately this continued throughout the morning match. Combined with a bitterly cold southerly meant playing conditions were very unpleasant. Most of the girls struggled with the conditions and for some just gripping the club properly was difficult. Most of the matches got off reasonably even, however by the midway point we found ourselves down in at least 4 matches. Brydie Hodge showed her experience in all types of conditions to win her match 4/3. Emma was not at her best against a young but steady competitor, and eventually went down 2/1. Amber-Rose after 2 wins yesterday found herself a few down with four to play and while she fought back with wins on 15 and 16, her opponent made her 3rd two of the round to end the match on the 17th. Katherine was required to give shots in this round and unfortunately also struggled a little in the conditions to go down in her match 4/3. Kyra managed to get her game as far as the 16th, and although has yet to record a win, is improving each round, which is great to see. Tara although leading throughout some of the match probably struggled the most in the bitter cold conditions, due to her size and having to adjust her grip just to hold on to the club. Once again battled right through to the end, but eventually went down 2/1. The 5/1 result was probably not a great reflection in the abilities of the teams, but more that North Harbour coped a little better in the conditions. This was not an ideal day to be playing golf, therefore all the girls and managers were very happy that it was only one game today with all team getting the afternoon off.
All the teams met at the Skyline Gondola and Luge at 3pm for some fun on the luge ride. Being the only Manager to actually give the luge a go, I can report that it was heaps of fun and enjoyed by all.
Round 4 - Thursday 10th Oct - am
Thankfully the weather had improved overnight, and playing conditions although a little cold to start did warm up and remain fine. This morning we played against Northland, which we expected could be a tight contest. Emma kicked things off really well with a big win in her match, while Brydie had a much closer match, where she was down through most of it. Unfortunately she was not able to quite finish it off, going down on the final hole 1 down. Amber-Rose and Katherine were not quite at their best and were both down throughout their matches, and were unable to make those crucial putts to get them back into their matches, to both go down. Kyra battled hard and did show some great fight midway to get her match back to just 2 down after being 5 down early, eventually going down 3/2. Tara however continued some very good form, and was up throughout her match to eventually win 4/3. The final 4 - 2 result meant we were still without an outright team win, with just one round to play of pool play.
Round 5 - Thursday 10th Oct - pm
The final round of pool play had us up against Wellington, where a feature match was being played between Tara (10 Yrs of age), was up against Mia from Wellington (9 yrs of age). For the first time in the week Tara had a height and maybe a small distance advantage. Unfortunately Tara did not play her best match of the week, and a superior putting game by Mia, saw the result go the way of the Wellington youngster 4/3. Kyra's result was also the same, but Kyra has started to show significant improvement in parts of her game throughout the week. Perhaps a slight lack of confidence at times was a major factor throughout the week in some of her matches. As this is about development, it was great to see some improvement, and the experince will be beneficial in the long run. Brydie once again was not completely on top of her game and went down to the Wellington number 1. Emma however made it 2 wins for the day with another strong performance. Amber-Rose also bounced back with some great play to win her match, while Katherine, maybe feeling the affects of a long week, fell just short to go down 2/1 in her match, but against a competitor who had yet to record a loss throughout the week. The 4/2 loss to Wellington meant that we did finish bottom of our pool, which would mean we were to play Waikato in the final match to playoff for 9th and 10th place.
Round 6 - Friday 11th Oct - Am
Not a great start to the day, with both Katherine and Amber not looking well at breakfast after both picking up some bug. By the time we got to the course it was obvious we were going to be down a player with Katherine to sick to compete. Therefore we were left with no choice but to default one match. With Amber also not well, but keen to still play, I caddied for her which was in the rules. With the opponent also having a caddy (player who got defaulted to) this worked out perfect. Being in a two we got this match off first, and Amber played great golf throughout. If it wasn't for a couple of three putts it would have been near mistake free golf, and she won her match 6/5 in under 2 hours. Brydie and Emma wwre also playing some good golf and won their matches 3/1 and 4/3 respectively. Kyra again battled hard, but again fell to a similar margin as most of her other matches. Tara was the last player left to finish, and was 2 down with 2 to play. We were hoping for another Tara comeback to give us the team win, but this time it was not to be and she went down 2/1. The final result a three all draw. Some countback rule gave us a final placing of 10th, but in the end the fianl result was not the important.
Bay of Plenty was the overall winner after defeating Canterbury in the final. Interestingly we had a draw against Canterbury in pool play which shows how even the teams were the entire competition, and really any team was in for a chance. Next year I would expect our players will be much better off for the experience of this year. The event is important to develop girls golf so that we have young players gaining experience ready for Toro competition in the future. I think that it is perfect fit to develop our future players in the womens game."