Summer gone with the wind from a southern fairway

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, officially yesterday was supposed to be the last day of summer, right?

So, how come there were nearly as many woollen beanies as golf caps and hats at The Hills and Millbrook on day two of the $900,000 New Zealand Open?

And why am I sitting in the media centre with two turbo-charged heaters blasting out hot air as I write this?

Well, for the answers I only had to look to the freshly snow-capped peaks of the Remarkables and, briefly Coronet Peak.

Or talk through chattering teeth to the many rainjacket-clad, glove-wearing golf fans huddled under trees or umbrellas as an icy southerly wind hurled showers of freezing rain across both golf courses throughout the day.

Intermittently, there were patches of blue sky and irregular respites from the numbing winds.

But mainly it was a day for dedicated, hard-bitten, golf-loving spectators to be out supporting the golfers - amateurs, celebrities and professionals alike.

Spectators on the 18th hole at The Hills (top) try to keep warm as fresh snow lies on the Remarkables yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.Temperatures in Queenstown and Dunedin reached a maximum of 13degC.

Parts of the coast were also drenched in one last summer downpour. The southwester brought at least 25mm of rain to Oamaru, and 20.6mm to Dunedin in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.

The good news is a forecast for improved conditions today and tomorrow, although (gulp!) I'm told there's a chance of late showers for the final day. Wahoo. Pass me the sunblock anyway!

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