Golf: NZ lead by two at Ten Nations golf

New Zealand made a great start to the Ten Nations Cup golf tournament, claiming a two-shot lead over Scotland after the first round at the inaugural championships in George, South Africa.

Southland No 1 Vaughan McCall led the way with a near flawless three under par 69 and he was well supported by Manawatu/Wanganui players Josh Munn and Tyler Hodge who added rounds of two under par 70.

The Kiwis combined for a seven-under-par team total with Tasman No 1 Blair Riordan having the non-counting score, a one over par 73.

England and Argentina share third three shots behind New Zealand, with Ireland and Colombia in a share of fifth. Australia and hosts South Africa are off the pace in eighth and ninth respectively.

The Ten Nations Cup is an amalgamation of the Four Nations Cup and the Southern Cross Trophy and contested over four stroke play rounds.

McCall, who last year became the first golfer in 24 years to win the New Zealand Stroke Play and New Zealand Amateur in the same year, is in a share of second on the individual leaderboard behind France's Paul Elissalde (68).

The four New Zealand players arrived at the event with thick sideburns resembling the character of Wolverine off X-Men but the facial hair is much more about team bonding than attempting to scare the opposition.

"Since we've all been together since January, we decided to grow sideburns just to boost our team spirit, but we don't mind if it intimidates a few people," said McCall, who finished tied 13th and leading Kiwi at last year's Eisenhower Trophy.

"I am pretty happy. I did what I needed to do all day. I got the ball up and down and played well. A pleasurable moment was when my own teammates were hassling me down the last and I chipped in to put a smile on my face."

Following the event, the New Zealand team will compete at next week's South African Stroke Play Championship at the Ernie Els designed Oubaai Golf Club in George.

- APNZ

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