On course with win at Hastings Open
Gisborne golfer Tessa McDonald’s 2019 quest to remain the No.1 women’s player in Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay got off to a triumphant start at the weekend.
McDonald won the women’s gross at the Hastings Open on the Bridge Pa course.
Her total of 5-over 227 (75, 74, 78) on the par-74 course was seven strokes clear of runner-up Lily Griffin of Manawatu.
Poverty Bay member McDonald clearly enjoyed the course despite the heat — it got to over 30 degrees — and a problem with her back in the final round.
She had nine birdies over the three rounds and just one double bogey.
McDonald led from the start. She was three strokes ahead after her opening round of 75 and extended her advantage to seven in her second-round 74.
Her final round 78 was a bit of a grind but she was pleased to get the job done, albeit with contrasting nines of 42, 36, including birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th holes.
She put the back issue down to “a lot of gym work” she has been doing to strengthen her core muscles.
It was her first tournament of the year and she was obviously rapt to come out on top, particularly in a strokeplay event.
McDonald, who plays off a 2-handicap, has forged a formidable matchplay record at representative level — so to succeed in the more merciless format of strokeplay, where every shot counts, was highly satisfying.
The win also underlined her status as HBPB No.1.
While McDonald does not have anything major lined up golf-wise, she is keen to retain the No.1 spot for this year’s Toro national women’s interprovincial to be held at a yet-to-be-confirmed course in Hawke’s Bay.
The daughter of Gisborne couple David and Karen McDonald has been a regular fixture in the HBPB team at the national interprovincial in recent years, culminating in her elevation to No.1 last year at Christchurch’s Clearwater course.
She had four wins from seven matches as HBPB finished ninth.
The national interprovincial is the main 2019 golfing focus of McDonald, a receptionist at physioFirst.
However, she also plans to chase another round ball on the football field for Gisborne United.