On a cool and windy afternoon on day one of the NZPWG Pro-am in memory of Anita Boon, the local duo of Cathryn Bristow and Tania Tare, and the Aussie pair of Katelyn Must and Sheridan Gorton share the lead after shooting 1-over par rounds of 74.
The 29 professionals competing this week battled strong south-westerly winds and cooler than usual temperatures this afternoon in a shotgun start format on the tight and tricky Remuera Golf Club layout, and at the end of the day, there were just thirteen players who broke 80 in the tough conditions.
For former Ladies European Tour player Bristow, it was her first professional event since February this year after suffering a severe shoulder injury which occurred during the 2018 ALPG Tour season and which required surgery.
Bristow started her round at the par 5 18th hole and was quickly into stride with an opening birdie. Bogeys at the 2nd and 4th holes were followed by a birdie at the par 3 8th hole and Bristow was cruising at even par through ten holes. Further bogeys followed at the 10th and 12th holes as Bristow headed into the wind on the back 9, another birdie at the par 5 16th hole and a par at her final hole saw the Auckland native signing for a 1-over par round.
Bristow has recently been competing in some PGA pro-ams in NZ in an attempt to get some competition under her belt after her shoulder rehabilitation commenting "It is certainly different than playing in the Saturday competition at home".
The affable Aucklander has long been recognised as a great player with natural talent, however she has been plagued in recent years by a series of injuries A fit Bristow is certainly a force to be reckoned with and it would be no surprise to see her lift the trophy on home soil tomorrow evening.
Fellow Kiwi Tania Tare, who is better known for her incredible armoury of trick shots and huge social media following rather than her performances in professional tournaments, proved she is far from a one-trick pony with her round this afternoon.
Tare, who had put on a hugely entertaining exhibition prior to play this morning with World Long Drive Champion and fellow Kiwi Phillis Meti, teed off this afternoon from the 11th hole and jumped out of the blocks to be 1-under par through 6 holes. The 29-year-old slipped up slightly around the turn with bogeys at the 17th and 18th holes, only to get one back with an impressive birdie at the challenging par 3 3rd hole. Tare gave that shot straight back with a bogey at the difficult par 4 4th hole and would par in to join Bristow at the top of the leaderboard.
Australian Katelyn Must clearly enjoys her annual trips across the ditch for this event having been the winner of the Anita Boon Pro-am at North Shore Golf Club in Auckland back in 2012.
Must played only a very limited schedule on the 2017/18 ALPG Tour and now focuses mainly on her role as a teaching professional in Western Australia.
The 28-year-old is a classy player on her day and already has one official ALPG win to her credit at the BWAC Yamba Pro-am back in 2016.
The other Australian tied for the lead at 1-over par is 23-year-old New South Welshwoman Sheridan Gorton, who is starting to find her feet in her 3rd season as a professional. Gorton has six top-ten finishes to her credit on the ALPG Tour and looks to be starting to realise the enormous potential noticed by fellow players and many good judges around the tour.
Gorton looked as if she may end up leading the event on her own at the end of the day after being 3-under par through her first 10 holes, however an unfortunate triple-bogey 7 at the par 4 2nd hole where she had to take un unplayable lied saw her slip back to even par for her round.
A bogey at the 4th hole threatened to derail the round completely but Gorton fought back with birdies at the 5th and 6th holes to get back to 2 under par for the day. The roller-coaster round continued for Gorton with bogeys at the 7th and 8th holes but the youngster showed her determination with a birdie at her final hole to take a share of the lead.
Pre-event favourite Liv Cheng struggled at the start of her round being six over par early on before recovering to shoot a 5 over par 78 to put her in a tie for 8th place with compatriots Phillis Meti and Hanee Song.
The second round will again be a shotgun start at 12:30 pm local time tomorrow at Remuera Golf Club. Entry is free and spectators are welcome.
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