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A mighty Maitai Masters

The 2020 Maitai Masters had it all: a record field, a young winner who scored an ace on the way to scooping the major prizes and a glorious day and well-groomed course on which to play golf.

A field of 102 golfers entered the Waahi Taakaro Golf Club’s annual tournament on Saturday (Nov 28), which this year was held at Nelson Golf Course because the greens at the Maitai Valley course had not recovered from a fungal disease which took hold during the Covid19 lockdown. Seventy-two golfers – including two women - played the traditional 27 holes and the remainder a new 18-hole option.

The individual star was Greenacres teenager Shaun Smith who not only won the senior cup for the best gross score but later took out the Pitch for Cash contest.

The highlight of his 27-hole total of 109 was a hole in one at the par three No 6. In the morning when conditions were at their best the lanky 3.4 handicapper shot an even par 36 for the opening nine holes and backed it up with a two-over 73 in the afternoon.

Motueka’s James Campion was two shots back in second after totalling 111 (39, 72).

The Nelson pair of Jamie Hunter (40, 73) and Nathan Smith (36, 77) tied for third.

Waahi Taakaro’s Peter Green (43, 80) took out the intermediate cup on countback from tournament director Peter Watson (41, 82) after both grossed 123, with Gabriel Tijsen of Motueka (43, 82) third.

 Bill Keenan, of Rarangi (50, 87), won the junior cup with a total of 137 from Totaradale’s Rod Sinclair (45, 95). Waahi Taakaro’s Warwick King (48, 94) and Golden Down’s Mark Nichotte (47, 95) tied for third.

The best nett total in the senior division was recorded by Greenacres’s Justin Smith – Shaun’s dad – who finished with 103 (33, 70) to make it a memorable day for the family. Todd Hamilton, of Motueka, was one stroke further back on 104 (35, 69). He was followed by James Campion on 105 (37, 68).

Gabriel Tijsen topped the intermediate nett scores with 106 (37, 69). One stroke back was Lindsay Brooks, of Waahi Taakaro (36, 71). His fellow club member Peter Green (38, 70) was third.

Waahi Taakaro’s Alan Church headed the junior nett with 106 (34, 72). He was followed by club mate Warwick King (37, 72) and Bill Keenan (41, 68).

Among the 18-holers, Nelson’s Dave Harley (70) topped the nett scoring followed by Paul Barter, Nelson, Paul Yates, Nelson, Frank Ladds, Golden Downs, and Peter Clarke, Judgeford, all on 71.

Twos were scored by Bill Rooney (2), Tony Watkins, Shaun Smith, Robert Tiare, Aaron Kotua, Rod Thompson, Barry Ellis, Andrew Stevenson, Jamie Hunter, Derek Drysdale, Moon Kim and Paul Barter.

Many golfers benefited from a generous prize table which rewarded top gross and nett scores in each 27-hole division and nett scores in the 18-hole comp, with players restricted to winning one prize each.

Waahi Taakaro would like to thank all those who entered, in particular those who came from Wellington and Marlborough and Nelson club members who showed great support for our tournament.

We would also like to express our gratitude to Nelson for their generous offer to host the Maitai Masters and the sterling support we received from Nelson manager Tony Watkins and his board, the Total Golf team and the green keeping staff.

Thanks also to our sponsors (Total Golf, NBS, Fulton Hogan, Elliott Drainage, Waste Management, Nelson Aviation College and Turf Hotel) and to all those who volunteered their time to help make the day a success.

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