Waikato stand alone at the top of the Freyberg Masters leaderboard after a gutsy win over Otago in round five at the Maraenui Golf Club in Napier this morning.
The Mooloo men sneaked past Otago 3-2 with No 1 Andrew McKechnie remaining unbeaten at the top with a crucial 1up win over Andrew Hobbs to seal the tie.
McKechnie, like teammate Phil Hunter, has won all four of his matches and the No 1 and No 3 are proving a formidable pair.
Wellington, who went into round five as the only other team with a perfect winning record, began poorly in their match with Southland and eventually lost 3-2.
Wellington were always in trouble, being down in every match after four holes.
Auckland, who hold the record for the most wins in the Freyberg Masters with 10 titles since the event began in 1986, kept their title chances alive with a 3 1/2 - 1 1/2 win over Northland.
Their top three players, Brent Paterson, Martin Tumata and Michael Barltrop, brought them home strongly for the win that sees them only half a point behind Waikato.
Canterbury and Wellington are the next best teams on three points as they have both had their bye while North Harbour and Manawatu Wanganui are on three points with their bye to come.
Manawatu Wanganui went down in a close finish to Aorangi and, with two losses, their chances look slim.
There are two key matches tomorrow morning as Auckland take on Wellington and the defending champions Canterbury will look to hand Waikato their first defeat of the 2012 championship.