From left Aunty Ra, Lisa Herbert and Miti Aldridge
Waikato ‘Have A Finger’ on the Russell Grace!
2023 New Zealand Women’s Masters
Otaki, 31 March 2023
Early days but the ‘mighty’ Waikato have a hold on the prestigious Russell Grace Trophy, competing in the 2023 New Zealand Women’s Masters.
Trying to win back to back titles, Waikato posted a team total of 98 Gross Stableford points, 5 points ahead of North Harbour and Canterbury.
Leading the fight was Waikare’s club champion, Michelle Archer with a 1-under par round. Birdies on the 4th, 13th and 18th along with two bogies on the 9th and 16th; a card of 71, 37 Gross Stableford points.
Winning teams are historically those that have scores in the 30’s (or thereabouts) which Waikato did today in round one of the 31st Women’s Masters.
Team captain Robyn Pellow 32 points, Jill Morgan 29 with Julie Gee the non-counter today.
North Harbour who have yet to win the tournament, had three players with 30+ points, Vaha Fapiano 33, and both Rebecca Barrow and Carolyne Cressey with 30. Non-counter Annette Muir. Also on 93 points, Canterbury who have won the tournament five times, the last in 2019 at Nelson.
Kim Moggach the best scorer for Canterbury with 32 points, Sally Rossiter carded a 31 and Naomi Wallace, 30; non-counter Joanne Kent.
Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay and the Bay of Plenty sit 3rd equal after their opening rounds of 87. Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay were due to host the 2023 tournament but had to relinquish the privilege when Napier Golf Club was left devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle.
Hawkes Bay is looking at a new lease of life with Diana Syer leading the charge; Syer top scored with 30 points. Syer is a past New Zealand Senior Women’s representative and Senior Women’s Champion. The proud Hawkes Bay team is fighting with all those at home on their minds – past bridesmaids but yet to win the Trophy.
The Bay of Plenty has a new look with Kellie Orchard, previously from Wellington selected in the team. Heather Keefe was the top scorer for the Bay with 34 points. The Bay of Plenty was a significant winning team in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with five wins. They last claimed the Trophy in 2020 in a rain affected tournament that was reduced to 36 holes only.
In the middle of the pack lies Southland and Northland with 86 and 85 points respectively, then Auckland with 83 points.
Local supporters were out for Wellington but on course were the mother and aunty of lead player for Manawatu Wanganui, Lisa Herbert.
Herbert nee Aldridge, was in a winning Queen Sirkit Cup team twice, representing New Zealand on 12 occasions during a golden period for international women’s golf in New Zealand.
The New Zealand women won the Queen Sirikit Cup twice and were highly placed in the world amateur championships – the Espirito Santo in both 1990 and 1992.
The 1999 version of the Queen Sirikit was played just down the beach at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club where New Zealand, finished tied with Chinese Taipai; it was Aldridge that broke the deadlock on the first playoff hole with a memorable birdie.
A world left handed champion - twice, a New Zealand representative, foursomes champion and age group champion and a multiple club champion, and someone who knows the Otaki Golf Course well, Herbert is the current holder of the Canterbury Trophy, for the leading individual.
Needing to make up some ground in tomorrow’s 36 holes are Aorangi, hosts Wellington and Taranaki. The tournament matches the women’s golf districts in teams of four, over 72 holes, Gross Stableford points, with scoring based on the best 3 out of 4, per round. This year only 12 districts have fronted with a team, Otago and Tasman not entering which is unprecedented in this event for Golf New Zealand.
The final 18 holes is due to be held on Sunday 2 April , tee off from 8.00am.
Team placings after round one: 98 Waikato; 93 Canterbury, North Harbour; 87 Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay, Bay of Plenty; 86 Southland; 85 Northland; 83 Auckland; 80 Manawatu Wanganui; 77 Aorangi; 75 Wellington and 70 Taranaki
Golf New Zealand Tournament Director
Phone 0275 662 385