Interprovincial ‘adventure’ looms

North Otago golfer Judith Yates will line up for Otago at the New Zealand interprovincial next...
North Otago golfer Judith Yates will line up for Otago at the New Zealand interprovincial next week. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE
Judith Yates is experienced beyond her team-mates’ years.

The North Otago golfer is relishing the opportunity to tee off for Otago again at the New Zealand interprovincial on the Kapiti Coast next week.

At 57, Yates is the wise head among the Otago squad this season, joining Sumin Kang, 18, Yoonae Jeong, 15, Sophia Park, 14, and Anahera Koni, 13, playing at the tournament starting on Tuesday.

If you were to add all the ages of the youngsters together, they would have three years on Yates.

But that does not deter her, and she is looking forward to her second consecutive appearance at the tournament.

It could be Kang’s last outing for Otago for a while, as she heads off to the United States for college after graduating from Wakatipu High School this year.

Golf Otago chief executive Mahal Pearce said more female players were coming through the ranks and hoped the likes of Park and Koni reaching national tournaments would inspire more girls to take up the sport.

After teeing off at No 5 last year, Yates — described by Pearce as "rock solid" — has jumped to No3 in Otago on the back of a strong season , winning North Otago’s club championships.

She went on to win the champion of champions title in Balclutha a two weeks ago, where she shot 73 off the stick in a personal best round.

Playing in last year’s tournament was a great experience and she is looking forward to the challenges posed by the Waikanae and Paraparaumu Beach courses next week.

"I’m just looking at it like a big adventure," Yates said.

"Each course is an adventure, really, isn’t it? You can make it what you want."

Originally a representative hockey player, Yates turned to golf about 20 years ago, looking to test herself as an individual and follow in the footsteps of her aunt, Isla Mcdonald, who previously played for Otago.

It has become a mainstay in her week, as she serves on the North Otago club committee, grounds committee and regularly rakes the bunkers.

But it is the camaraderie on the course she enjoys the most.

"It’s a walk and a talk.

"If the golf’s good, it’s good, and if it’s not, you’re out here enjoying being with friends and exercising."

Otago open their tournament against Taranaki on Tuesday. They play Waikato and Aorangi on Wednesday, Northland on Thursday and Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay on Friday.

Otago interprovincial

Women’s team

Sumin Kang (Wakatipu Juniors), Yoonae Jeong (Wakatipu Juniors), Judith Yates (North Otago), Sophia Park (Futures Dunedin), Anahera Koni (Island Park). Manager/reserve: Liz McRae.