Few people are capable of scoring 13-under par. Fewer still are 16-year-olds mature enough to point out that it won't happen all the time and they need to continue practising and working on playing consistently.

But that is the case with James Tauariki. Talking to the Rotorua Boys' High School student, you get the feeling he doesn't enjoy being made a fuss of, but if he keeps playing like he did on Saturday, he might have to get used to it.

He said when he birdied the first four holes, he knew a decent score could be on the cards.

When he finished the first nine on 26 shots, 9-under par, that was when it sunk in that he could be on track for something really special.


"It sort of just felt like another game at first, but those four birdies gave me a bit of confidence and I eagled the sixth."

Nine under through nine holes was a position James had never been in before, but he knew he couldn't get too excited and needed to take it one shot at a time. His previous best score was 8-under.

"It's just staying in the moment - not getting ahead of yourself and not thinking about anything that has happened before."

The scorecard from James Tauariki's 13 under par round of golf on Saturday. Photo / Supplied
The scorecard from James Tauariki's 13 under par round of golf on Saturday. Photo / Supplied

Approaching the 18th hole he was sitting 12-under and knew, if he hit a good drive, he could improve his score further.

"The first shot can set you up on there. I hit a pretty decent drive, it pitched on the green and was straight at the pin, but bounced off the back. It was a pretty easy chip, that lipped out and I made the putt for birdie.

"I realised it was a good score, but it didn't really sink in at the time. It has now, seeing other people's reactions."

He recently returned rounds of 65 at Waimairi Beach in Christchurch on October 10 and 64 at Springfield on October 6.

He finished 10th at the North Island championships at Whakatane last month but that was mainly due to a poor first round of 79. After that he shot 66, 69 and 70.


Earlier in September he was eighth at New Zealand Secondary Schools championship in Palmerston North.

His score on Saturday came during the Springfield Club Championships.

James said playing in tournaments was completely different to playing practice rounds.

"It's putting pressure on yourself to play good, I guess. In a practice round, there's nothing there, if you don't play well there's no real big consequence.

"Pressure can get to a lot of people, no matter how mentally strong you are."

James' coach Paul Hartsone was not yet aware of his young protege's effort when called for an interview, but he laughed and said it did not surprise him.

"That young man is a very talented golfer. He's exceptionally talented, I don't know if there are too many 16-year-olds in the country shooting the scores he's shooting at the moment.

"I'm not surprised at all. He has a very sound technique, a very level head on his shoulders, a very supportive family. He works hard at his game and he's intelligent, he sort of weeds out the trash from the good stuff.

"I predict great things for him, I really do," Hartstone said.

This weekend James is playing in the Rotorua Open, before the New Zealand Amateur Championship starting on Wednesday week at Wairakei.