Wellington golfer Cruize Wawatai has claimed the stroke play title in a playoff at the 76th New Zealand Golf Maori National Championship at Taupo Golf Club.
Wawatai, who opened with a 73 to share the lead in the Senior Men's Championship with Haupai Puha, carded a four over par 76 in tough blustery conditions on day two at the Centennial Course to finish tied with Ruel Pedersen who shot a two over 74.
Wawatai prevailed in the playoff to claim the Stroke Play title and top position in the 16 qualifiers for the match play which began yesterday.
Twelve of the 16 top qualifiers have a handicap of four and under and two local players - Mark Tito who plays off 5.7 and Laurie Hema on 5.8 - also qualified in the top 16.
Two low handicap players missed the cut. They were Jordan Rangihika (Kawerau) and Ngamanu Clay (Titahi) who play off handicaps of 1.4 and 1.9 respectively.
Meanwhile, in the Senior Women's Championship Wellington rep Te Rongopai Clay added a second national title to her record when she carded a two over par 74 to win by 12 shots.
Clay, from the Titahi Bay Golf Club in Wellington, had rounds of 73 and 74 for a three over par two round total at Centennial to earn a comfortable win from Kate Chadwick (Napier).
Clay will play as the top seed in the match play and look to add her third national win after claiming the National Age Group Championship that she won in 2012 at the Mangawhai Golf Club from team-mate Julianne Alvarez.
In the other divisions Tori Van Straalen (Waitomo) came from behind to claim the Intermediate Division title by three shots.
The Masters, Golden Girls and Under 19 Division were to play Stroke Play until today.
Paul Retemeyer (Lake View Golf and Country Club) leads the Junior Men by two shots at the halfway stage.
Bill Anderson has a five-shot lead in the Masters Men division and Isobel Dick (Wellsford) leads the Golden Girls by 11 shots with two rounds to play.
It is the 76th staging of the New Zealand Golf Maori National Championship and, while numbers are down, there are more than 250 Maori golfers competing in Taupo.