Maitai Masters untamed
Jamie Hunter won his second senior Total Golf Maitai Masters in three years on Saturday (Nov 6) but it was the Waahi Taakaro course that was the real star.
Transformed from a year ago after a fungus ravaged the greens, the Maitai Valley course was in pristine condition for the Waahi Taakaro club’s annual 27-hole tournament.
With the greens running smooth and at a good pace, the pins tucked away in some hard to get to spots and a swirling wind making it difficult to judge distances in the afternoon, the almost 6000m long course off the blue tees again proved more than a handful for most of the 70-strong field.
In fact, no golfer got near to breaking par off the stick over the 27 holes, again proving that the course plays a lot tougher than it looks and the event requires endurance and concentration as well as skill to master.
Just two players – Nelson’s Hunter and Totaradale’s Rob Tiare – matched par in the morning nine holes before the wind got up, while just 11 golfers each in the morning and afternoon rounds bettered their handicaps.
The pick of them was Waahi Taakaro’s Callum Hogg – playing off a 22 handicap in the junior division - who totalled an impressive 100 (33 and 67) to walk away with the best overall net. His round also included one of just six twos made during the day and he won another prize for the longest drive in his division.
Hunter – who won the senior cup in 2019 – opened with a tidy 36 thanks to some solid driving and approach work but had to grind it out in the afternoon as the wind got up. However, the two-handicapper’s 77 in the afternoon was easily good enough as his major rivals struggled. In the end, Hunter coasted to a five-shot victory over Tiare (118) with Matt Grimes two shots further back.
Afterwards Hunter was full of praise for the course.
``It was in awesome condition – the best I’ve seen it.
``The wind made it very tough to judge distances. I hit a lot of solid shots but left a few putts out there.
``I’m pretty happy to win my second title because it wasn’t playing easy.’’
Tiare still had a good day winning the senior net and the pitch for cash competition over the Maitai River.
Former Waahi Taakaro member Keri Kotua used his experience to secure the intermediate gross title by just one shot to add to his trophy cabinet. His 129 total beat four chasers – Richard Pearson, Peter Green, Natalee Reed and Paul Tunnicliff - on 130. Tunnicliff had the satisfaction of winning the net.
Another local member Neil McLaren topped the junior grade, with his gross of 134 bettering Grant Thorn by one. Waahi Taakaro’s Andrew Craig stormed home with a net 66 to claim the best junior net.
In the 18-hole competition, Waahi Taakaro’s Grant Fergusson with a net 70 finished a shot ahead of Paul McCrae.
Tournament director Peter Watson paid tribute to greenkeeper Eric Shurson for the work he had put in to get the course in tip top condition.
He also thanked tournament sponsors Total Golf, NBS, Neil Elliott Drainage and Super Liquor for their support and club volunteers for the work they had done in making it a success.
Senior 27 holes
First gross; Jamie Hunter 113 (36 +77), second gross; Matt Grimes 120 (41 + 79), third gross; James Campion 123 (42 + 81)
First net; Rob Tiare 109 (33 + 76); second net, Steve Binnie 112 (38 + 74), third net; Andy Isle 113 (37 + 76)
Intermediate 27 holes
First gross; Keri Kotua 129 (43 + 86), second gross; Richard Pearson 130 (45 + 85), third gross; Natalee Reed 130 (44 + 86), fourth gross; Peter Green 130 (41+ 89), fifth gross; Justin Smith 132 (40 + 92), sixth gross; Reinhart Pauls 133 (43 + 90)
Fitst net; Paul Tunnicliff 107 (37 + 70), second net; Sarel Nienaber 109 (38 + 71) third net; Elton Netto 109 (34 +75), fourth net; Iain Berrie 110 (36 + 74), fifth net; Mike Tovio 111 (37 +74), sixth net; Jonathan Tuheke 111 (36 + 75)
Junior 27 holes
First gross; Neil McLaren 134 (43 + 91), second gross Grant Thorn 135 (45 + 90), third gross; Mike Murphy 141 (48 + 93), fourth gross; Ian Archibald 144 (45 + 99), fifth gross; Tania Appelman 147 (49 +98)
First net; Andrew Craig 104 (38 + 66)), second net; Warwick King 104 (31 + 73), third net; Barry Mitchell 111 (37 + 74), fourth net; Ivan Blanche 112 (39 + 73), fifth net; Ian Hanford 114 (36 + 78)
Overall best net: Callum Hogg 100 (33 + 67)
First net; Grant Fergusson 70, second net; Paul McCrae 71, third net; Rangi Kohe 76, fourth net; Brad Brown 76, fifth net; Barbara Kotua 77
Twos: Richard Pearson, Keir Kotua, Steve Binnie, Elton Netto, Callum Hogg, Rod Thompson
Straightest drive No 1: Natalee reed
Longest drive No 4: Justin Brochoki (senior), Laurie McGlone (intermediate), Callum Hogg (junior), Tania Appelman (women)
Closest to pin No 2/11: Richard Pearson
Closest to pin 5/14: Jamie Hunter, Keri Kotua
Most golf: Jim McMullan
Pitch for cash: first; Rob Tiare, second; Cyril Dawson