Masters meets heat with firepower


Sean Masters continued his great start to 2013 by winning the gross division of the annual Tai Tokerau Far North Maori Golf Tournament played at Ahipara over Auckland Anniversary Weekend.

Masters was in the unstoppable form that many were predicting well before the weekend he'd show, considering his recent return from Sydney the previous week where he played against some of the best young golfers in the world at the Australian Youth Olympics in Sydney.

Accompanied by father Dave, Sean Masters blasted his way around the Ahipara course matching the scorching temperatures which were near intimidating at times, to claim the major gross title with 67/ 72 for a combined score of 139. Masters also took avantage of the absence of the defending champion from the field, last year's winner - and also archrival - Brett Dormer sidelined through injury, to finish 10 shots clear of runner-up, Kaitaia greenkeeper Leon Tasker with 149.

The other teenager to terrorise older opposition at the event was Kimberley McPhatter from Maungakiekie Golf Club (Mt Roskill), her combined score of 156 denying Sam Dangen of Whangaroa from taking yet another back-to-back title.

It became an intensely contested women's gross division with the Whangaroa golfer forced to accept runner-up spot only one shot behind with a combined score of 157.

Locals also featured predominantly among other results over the field. In the men's division, Clem Urlich had the best nett score of 129, and Bundy Waitai had the best stableford score with 85.

In the women's field, Sean Masters' mum, Lynn Masters, won the ladies' nett division with a remarkable 129 even par allowing her to celebrate her birthday in style on Sunday, while Julie Yates took the best stableford score with 86.

Temperatures during the event were intense as noted earlier, soaring into the late 20s and possibly higher, leaving many wearing short sleeves and long shorts sunburned and red faced as they came off the course, while one woman passed out on Saturday afternoon.

Overcast conditions and a strengthening easterly breeze found the course more benign on Sunday.

The hut on No 6 - with the spectacular overview of 90 Mile Beach - was, as always, there for rest and the provision of emergency refreshments.

The hut did a roaring trade and raised around $1000 for the local Salvation Army, part of the proceeds coming from sales of Leon Gordon's incomparable tua tua fritters.

Also benefiting from proceeds from the tournament was Houhora golfer Ben Kennedy, the recipient of $1000 from organisers to help him represent Whangarei Boys High School golf team at the Asia Pacific World Schools Champs in Thailand at Easter. (Sean Masters was no longer in the team having completed his secondary schooling at WBHS and announcing at prizegiving on Sunday night he will be attending Otago University this year.) An extensive round-up of results from the two-day tournament will feature in a forthcoming edition.

Outstanding athletes Sean Masters took part in the Maori golfing tournament barely one week after returning from Sydney where he was part of the New Zealand team of 156 elite junior athletes which won 69 medals over five days of Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Olympic-style competition.

The Kaitaia teenager, a member of last year's championship winning Whangarei Boys High School golf team, featured for the New Zealand team which collected two bronze medals in golf - Te Awamutu 17-year-old Compton Pikari winning medals in the men's individual competition and as part of the teams' event - at the major sporting event to take New Zealand's total haul to 11 gold, 25 silver and 33 bronze medals in a field of nearly 1700 athletes from 30 countries.

Chef de Mission Chris Arthur later said every single one of the young athletes in the Kiwi team displayed maturity beyond their years during the competition.

"Our elite junior athletes have taken everything in their stride this week, including Sydney's hottest day on record, and have performed with all the mana of the Olympians they are aspiring to be. New Zealand can rest assured that we have a real depth of talent emerging across a number of sports and I hope to see many of these athletes at the Youth Olympics in Nangjing, China, next year," said Arthur, adding he expected every one of the athletes to be hoping to emulate the successes of London Olympic medallists Lisa Carrington (K1-200m gold), and Blair Tuke and Peter Burling (sailing 49er, silver), who all began their careers at the festival.

For the record, there was no official position on where New Zealand finished at the AYOF in regards to overall medal standings (likewise with the IOC which doesn't do an official table for the main Olympics, it's the media and other outside organisations which keep count apparently).

- Northland Age

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