Hopes Otago women can be ‘up there’ with best

Otago golfer Tracey Storer gets in a round at Balmacewen ahead of the New Zealand interprovincial...
Otago golfer Tracey Storer gets in a round at Balmacewen ahead of the New Zealand interprovincial starting at the Timaru club today. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Heard the one about the veteran golfer who will miss a day of a tournament because she has school exams?

That is the case for the Otago women’s team today as it embarks on its quest to win the New Zealand interprovincial at the Timaru club without its No1 player.

Sumin Kang (16) will miss today’s matches as she has exams to sit at Wakatipu High School.

And, yes, Kang is a veteran.

She might be young in years but she has a power of golfing experience under her belt.

This will be her fifth time representing Otago at the national tournament, and earlier this year she won the South Island under-16 title while also beating the under-19 field.

Kang will be back in time for tomorrow’s action.

She will rejoin another Queenstown schoolgirl, 13-year-old Yoonae Yeong, at No2. Kathryn Baker, Abby Crawford and Tracey Storer round out the order.

Otago reserve Becs Calder, who was in the five-woman team last year, will play at No5 today, and the others will temporarily shuffle up one place with Kang away.

Crawford has the most experience at this level, Storer is back after missing last year, and St Hilda’s teacher Baker plays her second national tournament for Otago after previously representing Aorangi.

Sumin Kang. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Sumin Kang. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Otago has been on an upward trend at this tournament, finishing ninth in 2019 and sixth last year, and given two of the regular heavyweights, including utterly dominant Auckland, are missing due to Covid, a long-awaited place in the semifinals might be a realistic aim.

‘‘We’re certainly hopeful we will be up there,’’ Otago manager Liz McRae said.

‘‘There’s no Auckland and no North Harbour, and we don’t really know how strong some of the other teams are.’’

Team matchplay golf can be an intense experience, especially for younger golfers, but McRae is confident Otago will have the right approach this week.

‘‘You just try and keep their spirits up and stay positive.

‘‘And just play the course, not the player. That’s the key.’’

The Timaru club’s Levels course was flat but had some tricky holes, McRae said.

‘‘The rough is also quite dense, so you don’t want to get in there.’’

Otago plays Waikato and Tasman today, Wellington and Taranaki tomorrow, and Manawatu-Whanganui on Thursday.

The round robin finishes with a match against Canterbury then the bye, followed (hopefully) by semifinals on Saturday.

A new champion of the tournament is guaranteed thanks to the pandemic.

Auckland has won nine of the past 10 women’s interprovincials, and would have been gunning for six straight at Timaru.

hayden.meikle@odt.co.nz

 

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