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Locals rule in the Poverty Bay women’s open

THE district's top two female golfers squared off today to decide the Poverty Bay women's open champion on the Awapuni Links.

No.1 seed Tessa McDonald faced Gisborne Girls' High student Ellen Ball in the McFadyen Trophy Group 1 matchplay final on their home Poverty Bay course.

Both are Bay members as well as Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay representative teammates.

While McDonald, off a 1.5 handicap index, was a warm favourite, she needed no reminding of the potential for an upset. Last year, McDonald was beaten in the off-the-stick final by an opponent on an 8-handicap.

She struggled in strong winds in the final but was unlikely to face that challenge today as conditions before the finalists teed off were idyllic.

McDonald was solid on her way to beating clubmate Anne Witters 3 and 2 yesterday morning and Debbie Cory-Wright (of the Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club) 4 and 3 in the afternoon semis.

Ball, 15 and by far the youngest in the field, completed a Royal Auckland and Grange double.

She defeated Andrea Thomas 4 and 3 in the first round and Brigit Holford 3 and 2 in the semifinals.

The 64 competing players, including a lot of out-of-towners, could not have asked for better weather on a pristine course. The Bay's greens are slick and were expected to get faster on a festival of golf week.

The women's open is followed by the Emerre and Hathaway Poverty Bay Men's Open, which runs from Thursday to Saturday.

The men's open features a field of 112 players, including a large number of visitors who will be invigorated by the timely drop of Covid-19 alert levels.

* Tessa McDonald defeated Ellen Ball 2 and 1 in this morning's championship 8 final. Full story tomorrow.

Golf PB Womens Open - Janene Drapper
TEE SHOT: Jan Steele watches her ball in flight off the tee on the sixth hole at the Poverty Bay Women's Open yesterday. Picture by Paul Rickard