A quick glance at Tessa McDonald's cards after yesterday's first day at the national women's inter-provincial tournament in Dunedin would have told only half the story.
Yes, the 17-year-old Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay No4 was the team's only unbeaten player. McDonald beat Zhantel Weekes 4 and 2 as HBPB opened their campaign with a 4-1 loss to Canterbury in the morning round and Dale Dagg 3 and 2 in HBPB's 3-2 win against hosts Otago during the afternoon round.
But her wins weren't as comfortable as the scores suggest.
"I lost count of the number of trees I had to get out of and I had more than my fair share of bunkers, too. Fortunately I had Dave on my bag and he was able to give me some good advice in those situations," McDonald said, referring to coach Dave Keown, who is also the manager of her Poverty Bay club.
"Dave was a big factor in my success [yesterday], just as he was in Whakatane last year," McDonald said.
The Gisborne Girls' High School student, who is eyeing a professional career, won two of her three matches at No5 in her first interprovincial tournament last year and was thrilled Keown was able to accompany her again this week.
"Hopefully the wins will keep coming," McDonald said.
HBPB manager Kathy Olsen of the Maraenui club pointed out the last time HBPB won the interprovincial title was in 1970 at McDonald's Poverty Bay club and this fact may prove a lucky omen for McDonald this week.
"We have a huge number of supporters down here and this was a key factor as our fortunes changed during the afternoon round," Olsen said.
Olsen was confident her team would beat the winless Aorangi side in this afternoon's round after having the bye this morning.
Along with McDonald, No1 Kate Chadwick and No3 Angela Jones carded wins against Otago. Chadwick, who has mother Lesley and brother Sam among the supporters, beat Laura Hoskin 1 up and Jones, who has her parents Bruce and Sheree walking the fairways, walloped Liz McRae 7 and 5.
"Beating the host team is always a huge confidence booster," said Olsen, who was a long-serving player for the team before taking on the manager's role.
Otago beat Aorangi 4-1 in yesterday's morning round.
Against Otago, HBPB No2 Jamie McIvor lost 6 and 4 to Jo Hicks-Beach and No5 Lucy Owen, who is making her interprovincials debut, lost 6 and 5 to Susan Greig.
Against Canterbury, Chadwick was beaten 1 up by Sylvie Williams. Chadwick fought back to all square at the 15th after being three down after five, and one down after nine. McIvor was beaten 2 and 1 by Elisha Crosbie. McIvor was also all square after 15 and was two down after five, and one down after nine.
Jones was beaten 3 and 1 by Jess Guenzerodt and Owen was beaten 2 and 1 by Kate Turner.
Many of the big teams survived scares on day one of the Toro-sponsored event. Wellington, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury were all made to sweat as they were put under pressure by lesser-fancied rivals in the opening rounds of the seven-round championship.
Auckland and North Harbour, the finalists at Whakatane last year, made solid starts, winning their only matches over Aorangi 4- and Tasman 4-1 respectively after having byes in the morning round.
But it was the close shaves from the other contenders which had tongues wagging. Wellington, who have won the title on five occasions and started as one of the favourites, were being outplayed by a determined Manawatu-Wanganui outfit in round one.
Manawatu-Wanganui No5 Kelly Nicholas and No3 Brydie Hodge got their team on the board with wins and Stephanie Hyatt was 1 up with four holes to play against Lucy Davis. But the Wellington No4 rallied and turned her match around to win 1 up and this proved crucial in Wellington's 3-2 win.