It's not just a case of who will beat Auckland after day two but it's ominously beginning to look like which amateur golfer is sassy enough to take a game off the city slickers in Napier.
Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay top seed Tessa McDonald and No 2 Janie Field gave a glimmer of hope when they came agonisingly close before slipping one down to their Auckland counterparts, Vivian Lu and Fiona Xu, respectively, during round three of the NZ Women's Interprovincial teams' matchplay tournament at the Maraenui Golf Club today.
When the dust settled Auckland had kept their 5-0 record intact in the morning with a bye in the fourth round in the afternoon. They had steamrolled Otago and Taranaki by the same margin yesterday.
For HBPB, the one-round fairy-tale from yesterday ended for No 3 Clare Choi when captain Carmen Lim carded a 6 and 4 victory. The writing was on the wall for No 4 and captain Martha Manaena when Angela Ju raced to a 6 and 5 victory and Grace Jung inflicted similar damage on No 5 Fiona Ellis.
The closest to the unblemished leaders, in division one, are momentary leaders Manawatu/Whanganui, as well as pace setters North Harbour and Canterbury, who also had a bye with Auckland this afternoon, from division two.
In the afternoon, HBPB went down to Wellington 3.5-1.5.
"It was a great effort in the morning because no one has gone that far with those young girls [Auckland] yet," said No 4 Manaena who was the only victor against Wellington, pipping Shontalia William 1 up, while the field halved with Erika Cui.
"For Tessa and Janie to go down on the 18th was a great achievement."
The Hastings club member said the Wellington result was perhaps down to a degree of deflation from the morning and mental exhaustion had become the other factor.
"Playing this afternoon it never got any better as it stayed hot," she said as the Bay finds itself in the grip of hot, dry weather despite a 15-minute rain blitz yesterday.
Manaena put today down to games of patience as lethargy kicked in in the fourth round.
She emphasised the need for hydrating "but not the brown bottle type" before facing third-placed Aorangi in the morning and then a battle against Taranaki to ensure HBPB don't remain last on the division one ladder. Both sides are winless and have 2.5 individual victories going into tomorrow, although Taranaki will have the luxury of a bye in the morning.
"We'll just go out to do the best we can do," said Manaena who relished her first win in her rookie year of captaincy amid dealing with cries of "you can do it, captain".
Manawatu/Whanganui were the only other side to register a 5-0 today after beating Aorangi 4-1 in the morning to remain unbeaten.
They surged to the top rung of division one on account of four matches although unblemished Auckland had a bye and are second on three to define perfection.
Top seed Tara Raj has yet to concede a game for Manawatu/Whanganui after overwhelming Aorangi's Ginny Bolderston 5 and 4 but Taranaki counterpart Tineka Kumeora had taken her to the last hole.
Manawatu/Whanganui should post another massive win over Otago tomorrow morning, then enjoy a bye in the afternoon.
In division two, North Harbour dusted Tasman 4.5-0.5, after a bye in the morning, to add to wins over Northland and Waikato yesterday.
North Harbour play third-placed BOP tomorrow morning for a result that may well determine who will make the cut for the playoffs on Saturday.
• Aorangi 1 Manawatu/Whanganui 4: Ginny Bolderston lost to Tara Raj 5 and 4, Angela Gerken lost to Zhuo Yi Hu 4 and 2, Catherine Knight bt Brydie Hodge 2 and 1, Lynda Brown lost to Lisa Herbert 4 and 2, Kathryn Baker lost to Lily Griffin 3/2.
• Auckland 5 Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay 0: Vivian Lu bt Tessa McDonald 1up, Fiona Xu bt Janie Field 1up, Carmen Lim bt Clare Choi 6 and 4, Angela Ju bt Martha Manaena 6 and 5, Grace Jung bt Fiona Ellis 6 and 5.
• Otago 4 Taranaki 1: Sumin Kang bt Tineka Kumeroa 1up, Danielle Bailey bt Joanne McDonald 4 and 3, Tracey Storer lost to Debbie McCallum 2down, Susan Greig bt Kim Lucas 7 and 5, Amy Johns bt Kaye-Maree Mihaljevich 2 and 1.
• Canterbury 4 Waikato 1: Maddie May bt Zahraa Bester 5 and 4, Amy Weng bt Jill Morgan 5 and 3, Hillary O'Connor bt Sarah Hancock 3 and 2, Olive Tapu lost to Robyn Pellow 2 and 1, Melissa Newburn bt Sian Stevenson 1 up.
• Bay of Plenty 3 Tasman 2: Caitlin Maurice lost to Lizzie Neale 2 and 1, Aroha Tito lost to Eve Clarke 6 and 5, Taylor-Rose Perrett bt Emily Stenhouse 6 and 4, Susan Short bt Amber Boyce 3 and 2, Diane Syer bt Tracy Bary 4 and 3.
Byes: Northland, North Harbour, Wellington.
• Aorangi 3 Otago 2: Ginny Bolderston lost to Sumin Kang 3 and 2, Angela Gerken lost to Danielle Bailey 1 down, Catherine Knight bt Tracey Storer 7 and 6, Lynda Brown bt Susan Greig 1 up, Kathryn Baker bt Amy Johns 3 and 2.
• Wellington 3.5 HBPB 1.5: Darae Chung bt Tessa McDonald 3 and 1, Erika Cui halved with Janie Field, Alanah Gullery bt Clare Choi 3 and 1, Shontalia William lost to Martha Manaena 1down, Yewoo Hyun bt Fiona Ellis 4 and 3.
• Manawatu/Whanganui 5 Taranaki 0: Tara Raj bt Tineka Kumeroa 1 up, Zhuo Yi Hu bt Joanne McDonald 5 and 4, Brydie Hodge bt Debbie McCallum 5 and 4, Lisa Herbert bt Kim Lucas 8 and 7, Lily Griffin bt Hollie Wham 3 and 2.
• Waikato 4 Northland 1: Zahraa Bester lost to Shardae Bulkeley 1down, Jill Morgan bt Kylie Jacoby 5 and 4, Sarah Hancock bt Sjanna Bishop 2 and 1, Robyn Pellow bt Jenny Peters 4 and 2, Sian Stevenson bt Alayna Cox 1 up.
• North Harbour 4.5 Tasman 0.5: Anna An halved with Lizzie Neale, Eunseo Choi bt Eve Clarke 4 and 2, Yeonsoo Son bt Emily Stenhouse 5 and 4, Danika Lee bt Amber Boyce 5 and 4, Amy Im bt Tracy Bary 3 and 2.
Byes: Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury.
Standings (match pts/individual wins):
• Div one: 1 Manawatu/Whanganui 4/18; 2 Auckland 3/15; 3 Aorangi 2/8.5; 4 Wellington 2/7.5; 5 Otago 1/7, 6 Taranaki 0/2.5, 7 HBPB 0/2.5.
•Div two: 1 North Harbour 3/13; 2 Canterbury 2/10; 3 BOP 2/6.5; 4 Waikato 1/6.5; 5 Tasman 0/3, 6 Northland 0/1.
• Rd 5:
7.30am: No 1 Aorangi v HBPB, No10 Canterbury v Northland.
8.05am: No1 North Harbour v BOP, No 10 Wellington v Auckland.
8.40am: Otago v Manawatu/Whanganui.
Byes: Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato.
• Rd 6:
12pm: No1 Northland v BOP, No 10 Aorangi v Auckland.
12.35pm: No1 Waikato v Tasman, No 10 Otago v Wellington.
1.10pm: No1 Taranaki v HBPB.
Byes: Canterbury, Manawatu/Whanganui, North Harbour.