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McDonald delivers


Consistency is key to Gisborne golfer Tessa McDonald having a successful and possibly breakthrough year.

And she delivered that in spades on the way to winning the Group 1 championship of the Sacred Hill Maraenui Women's Open in Napier on Sunday.

McDonald, in her first tournament outing of a busy competitive year, defeated home-course player Claire Choi in the matchplay final of the three-round open.

Choi was the final hurdle on a trail of Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay representatives McDonald had to overcome.

The 25-year-old, who has played No.1 for HBPB for the past couple of years, hit the fairway running from the get-go, despite little practice heading into the open.

McDonald was 5-under the card after eight holes in her first-round clash with former HBPB rep Kathy Olsen, 4-up at the turn and went on to win 5 and 3.

It put her into a semifinal against HBPB teammate and provincial stalwart Janie Field (Napier).

The pair know each other's game well through the rep scene but McDonald said it was the first time they had met in a match.

McDonald eased to a 4 and 3 win to seal a place in the final.

Determined to go one better than her 2020 loss in the final to Palmerston North's Lily Griffin, McDonald played par golf against Choi and it was good enough for another win on the 15th.

“It wasn't spectacular, just consistent,” she said.

“I was really pleased with how I played over the weekend. I was really consistent.

“My putting was particularly good. It saved me a lot.”

McDonald capped her victory by winning a special shootout held on the 18th hole after the final.

Several players qualified for the final, which was decided by closest shot to the pin. McDonald almost holed a 52-degree wedge shot to win it.

Poverty Bay member McDonald is going all out this year to see if she can develop her game to the point of going professional.

She will be playing in several major events, including the New Zealand strokeplay at Paraparaumu Beach in March.

CONSISTENT: Tessa McDonald played steady par golf to win the final of the Sacred Hill Maraenui Women's Open. File picture