Golf: Auckland a warm favourite

Auckland will start a warm favourite when 14 teams tee off in the New Zealand women's interprovincial tournament, which begins with the first round of matchplay on the St Clair course this morning.

Munchin Keh (20) will play at No 2 but is probably one of the best performers in the 70-strong field. She won the New Zealand championship this year, beating 15-year-old sister Wenyung Keh by one hole in the final.

This led to Munchin being selected to join Lydia Ko and Emily Perry to play for New Zealand in the Espirito Santo tournament in Turkey.

However, the Auckland selectors have opted to play her younger sister in the tough No 1 position. With Joanna Kim (17) at No 3, Brittney Dryland (18) at No 4 and Larissa Eruera (20) at No 5, the team has an average age of 18.

But it will not all be plain sailing for Auckland, as the team had a disastrous performance in a quadrangular event against Wellington four months ago.

With foursomes, reverse singles and singles at stake, the Wellington quartet won 8.5-1.5.

Wellington has a solid line-up and will receive the best of guidance from former New Zealand representative and co-captain Renee Fowler.

Waikato will also be in the mix despite the absence of Emily Perry, who is attending the European qualifying school in Spain.

The team will be led by the in-form Hanna Seifert, while No 2 Sarah Bradley brings a wealth of experience to the team as a former New Zealand representative.

The Bay of Plenty team, led by Zoe Brake, will be out to emulate its male counterparts, who won at Balmacewen last Saturday.

Despite the absence of Ko, who is playing in Taiwan, North Harbour will be no pushover and should feature on finals day.

Canterbury will be the best hope for a South Island semifinalist after winning the South Island event at St Clair in October.

The Otago quintet is a mixture of youth and experience, with youngest player Laura Hoskin (17) playing at No 1.

She has already shown she can perform well at this level, emerging unbeaten in the South Island event.

Jo Hicks-Beach is a solid No 2, while Liz McRae, Dale Dagg and Susan Greig have a wealth of experience. All three have played in this event for more than a decade.

Greig, in particular, should be dangerous, playing at No 5 on her home course, as she has played at No 1 for Otago more than once.


Women's interprovincial
Today's draw

Morning: Otago v Aorangi, Canterbury v Hawkes Bay, Waikato v Taranaki, Tasman v Northland, Wellington v Manawatu-Wanganui, Southland v Bay of Plenty.

Afternoon: North Harbour v Tasman, Wellington v Northland, Southland v Manawatu-Wanganui, Aorangi v Auckland, Otago v Hawkes Bay, Canterbury v Taranaki.