Manawatu-Wanganui and Auckland will start as favourites when
65 of New Zealand's top golfers tee off in the SBS Golf
Invitational tournament on the Otatara course in Invercargill
The teams finished tied after 72 holes in last year's event
and it required three extra holes before Joshua Munn holed a
20m downhill putt for a birdie 3 to clinch the win for
Munn leads a strong team this year which includes Tyler Hodge
at No 2, his brother Trent Munn at No 3, as well as Junior
Tatana, who is well known to Dunedin spectators after losing
a playoff to decide the Toro title at Balmacewen last
Tasman and Wellington could well threaten to take the title,
after finishing third and fifth last year. Both have fielded
strong stroke play quintets this year.
Southland once again has a strong team and should rise to the
occasion with home advantage.
However, after winning the Toro in Gisborne in 2011,
Southland did not fare well last year, finishing in a tie for
seventh with Taranaki.
Southland is without the services of Mat Tautari, who was
player of the tournament in the Toro in Gisborne after
winning all eight matches.
Tautari is at odds with the Southland administration and
intends to play for Aorangi, after serving the mandatory
three-month stand down for switching provinces.
Otago needs to improve on last year's ninth placing. No 1
Brent McEwan is the only survivor from the 2012 team.
Nic Borren is in Europe and Thomas Facer in Perth while Tony
Giles did not trial for this event.
Kayne Wardell is the first representative from the small
Allan Grange Club and will make his debut at No 2 while Mitch
Bosley (Wanaka) has shown solid strokeplay form and regains
his place in the top five.
Toro titleholder Bay of Plenty and North Harbour have snubbed
the tournament for the second time and have been joined by
Waikato as absentees this year.
The field has been strengthened with the inclusion of a
trainee professional team, led by former Tasman No 1 Sean
The local trainee is Cody Harper who was also a member of the
2011 winning Southland team and he should relish playing on
his home course.