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McDonald among the winners for HBPB team

GOLF

A TOP-five finish beckons for Tessa McDonald and her Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay team at the national women’s interprovincial in Auckland.

Poverty Bay club member McDonald was among the winners as HBPB defeated Waikato 3 and 2 in the only round of the week-long matchplay tournament on the Akarana course yesterday.

Playing at No.1, McDonald defeated Robyn Pellow 3 and 2 to seal the team win — the second team success for HBPB to go along with their half on Day 1.

It put them on 2½ team points and 12 individual wins, and sixth overall on the 13-region table.

A semifinal place is out of reach as they have a bye this morning and their last section game this afternoon.

But if they can beat bottom-placed Tasman, it should be enough to earn a place in tomorrow’s playoff for fifth and sixth.

McDonald collected her third win in five matches yesterday — an impressive feat considering her top-of-the-order position.

“I started off rusty — it was raining — but got better as I went and played really well in the last five holes,” she said.

Despite having had multiple rounds on Akarana, McDonald said she was still coming to terms with the slick, hard greens.

“I thought the rain would slow them down but the ball just skidded on,” she said.

She compared the speed to her home greens when they were “very, very fast”.

No.3 Martha Manaena (3 and 2) and No.5 Aseri Miekle (5 and 3) also had wins yesterday and McDonald said they were rapt to collect another team point.

Earlier in the week, McDonald said the team were determined to improve on last year when they finished a disappointing 12th in Napier.

Heading into today’s play, five provinces were in a tight race for the semifinals — defending champions Auckland, Bay of Plenty, North Harbour, Wellington and Canterbury.

Auckland are vying for five consecutive national interprovincial crowns.

They and BoP went into this morning’s play having won 18½ out of 20 individual matches.