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A strong overall field of 90 is competing in the four divisions.
In the under-19 division, Sam Marsters (Mirimar) and the talented Stephen Liu (Whitford Park) are the frontrunners after solid 71s. Zachary May (Russley), one of the favourites, scored 74.
The best of the local players was Lewis Harper (DJGC), also with a promising 74.
Remuera’s Robby Turnbull leads the under-16s after a 72, followed by Zach Swarbrick (Napier) with a 73. Big hitting Joshua Bai (Akarana) had to settle for a 74.
Otago youngsters who played well were Nicolas Chiefetz (WJGC), who shot 76, 13-year-old Noah Novacek (WJGC), who carded a 77, and the youngest in the field, 12-year-old Kairangi Koni (Chisholm), also with a 77.
In the girls’ under-19 section, Lizzie Neale (Nelson) was very consistent in grabbing the lead with 71 to head off two of the favourites.
Outstanding Wakatipu junior Sumin Kang (16) had to settle for second with 72, while Maddie May (Clearwater), who won the Otago and South Island Strokeplay Championships earlier in the year in Dunedin, was tripped up with a triple bogey on the second hole.
“After the poor start I went into damage control mode and concentrated on cutting out errors. I am looking forward to a better round tomorrow,” May said after finishing with a 75.
The girls under-16 looks like a North Island affair, with Grace Zhan (Maungakiekie) in excellent touch with 71 to take a four shot lead ahead of Amy Han (Titirangi), with Rianne Li (Akarana) a shot further back.
- By Neville Idour