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‘Success without glory’ in defeats

You could point out they are among the very best in New Zealand women’s amateur golf.

You could say that getting to the 17th hole against such quality players is a success without the glory.

But Gisborne’s Tessa McDonald will probably take a little time to appreciate her performances, albeit losing ones, at the national interprovincial in Christchurch yesterday.

The Hawke’s Bay-Poverty Bay No.1 was unable to repeat her double-victory heroics of Day 1 at the Waitikiri course

She won the admiration of her two opponents, no doubt about that, but she was left rueing one that slipped past in her afternoon loss to the 2017 New Zealand amateur champion.

Yes, that’s right. McDonald played last year’s national matchplay winner, Sylvia Brunotti, and gave her one hell of a fright before losing 2 and 1 in HBPB’s 5-0 loss to title heavyweights North Harbour.

It followed a gutsy morning display against accomplished Auckland No.1 Carmen Lim, who withstood a late McDonald charge to win 2 and 1 as the defending champions outclassed HBPB 5-0.

The two team losses dropped HBPB from second to fifth in a section led by Auckland, with Harbour second.

McDonald is playing well — superbly at times, as she showed in her afternoon clash with Brunotti.

The 23-year-old, for the first time in her four matches so far, got off to a great start. She raced to a 3-up lead by the turn but, as grandfather and caddie Cliff Poole put it, “got the wobbles” and lost three holes in a row.

Brunotti, with momentum on her side, went on to win, while McDonald was reminded that at this level, you just can’t afford to give the opposition “free holes”.

Nor can you allow them to get away early. Lim got off to a flyer in the morning but McDonald showed character and fight at 4-down with four to play. She won the next two holes with birdies but matching pars meant the match ended on 17.

McDonald was by far the best performer for HBPB over the day. Auckland dominated the other matches and Harbour had four comfortable wins on the board before McDonald shook hands.

The fact that she can look back on yesterday proudly but with a little regret is testament to how she is playing, her focus and expectations.

Playing No.1 at the national interprovincial was her ambition, with the aim of locking clubs with the cream of each province’s crop.

She’s passing that test impressively so far.

Her two wins on Day 1 are unlikely to be her last.

Yesterday’s opponents would more than likely agree.

HBPB had a bye this morning, then were to face winless Aorangi in the afternoon and Otago in their last section game tomorrow.