Champion Hawke's Bay amateur golfer Stuart Duff has come away with an unblemished record on debut for the New Zealand senior men's team in Christchurch this week.

Duff, who was crowned the national senior champion last Saturday, carded a perfect three from three in his first appearance for his country after claiming a vital late point at the Christchurch Golf Club on Tuesday.

The New Zealanders registered their eighth Sanctuary Cove Trophy victory in the two-day event's 12-year history at the club where the nationals also were played as a preamble to the challenge.

The Kiwis, who started the day with a 7.5-4.5 lead, found things became extremely difficult. The Australians came out of the gates on fire to win four of the opening five points on offer and take the lead.

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The New Zealanders relied on the experience and in-form players late in the day to put the pressure back on the tourists.

Like Hastings Golf Club member Duff, Bob Shirley, of Carrington, also made his first appearance at the event to register two victories from his three matches.

Brent Paterson, of Royal Auckland Golf Club, and John Batley, of Titirangi, mustered three of the last four points on offer between them to help the hosts lift the trophy.

The first point of the day came from Stu Nicholls, of Waitemata, who played in his second Sanctuary Cove Trophy, against one of the leading Australians, Geoff Cranfield, to stop the early rot.

On reflection, the day one team points proved pivotal in allowing the New Zealanders to build a small buffer entering the all-important final day.

In the singles competition on Tuesday, Duff had the measure of Kym Olsen in posting 3 and 2 victory.

Hastings PGA professional Brian Doyle coaches Duff, a Lindisfarne College schoolteacher, who also is a former Central Districts Stags cricketer.