Golf: Northland No 1 will take no prisoners

By Cameron Leslie

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The Northland women's golf team follows on from the men's team at the interprovincial tournament in Dunedin, starting today.

Wellsford's Sjanna Bonnington returns to the team after missing last year's tournament and her captain, Samantha Dangen, had no problem promoting her to play at No 1.

"Sjanna's got the right attitude to play at number one; she thinks she's going to go out and kick everyone's butt and you need that attitude," Dangen said.

Last year great things weren't exactly expected from the team in Whakatane but they dug deep to finish a highly creditable seventh.

The team are looking to build on that this year and the new No1's form and her enthusiasm ticked all the right boxes.

"Sjanna's been so keen to get that spot, she's been texting me for the last two months wanting to know if she's going to be number one," Dangen said.

Former professional Kylie Jacoby (nee Wilson) was thrown into No 1 last year and made the best of it but was short of golf going into the tournament.

"She hadn't played for quite a few years but we played her at number one anyway and although she did well, she wasn't at her best," she said.

With a year's golf under her belt Jacoby is playing better and will be a real asset at number-three.

"Having her at three is good for the team and having Jodi [McCalister] come in at five is another bonus because she's such a good little player," Dangen said.

The team is always short of top-grade matchplay practice before the tournament.

Unlike their male counterparts, who have three interprovincial quadrangular tournaments, they only have one interprovincial matchplay tournament as a warm-up.

So the team organised their own fundraiser last month which doubled as a final warm-up match against a top men's team including some current and past Northland players.

World No 1 amateur Lydia Ko, who won the player of the tournament award at the interprovincials last year , will miss the event because she has been invited to play a professional event in Taiwan.

Northland will kick off the tournament against Tasman and Wellington this afternoon.

Northland: Sjanna Bonnington , Samantha Dangen, Kylie Jacoby, Jo Taylor, Jodi McCalister, Brooke Kingi (reserve) .

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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