By Christopher Reive
Wintec Journalism student
Defending champion Rose Zheng holds a seemingly impenetrable nine-shot lead heading into the final day of golf at the NZCT AIMS Games, after shooting at 73 at the Tauranga Golf Club course today.
The Bucklands Beach 13-year old and defending female champion made the most of benign conditions at the slick Tauranga course, which is preparing to host the Carrus Open next week.
Zheng, who plays off a 1.7 handicap, said there are lots of good players in the field and she was going to try to maintain her overall lead rather than build on it in the final day of the tournament.
She leads the individual-gross table on 219 after three rounds, adding her 73 to an even-par 72 at Omokoroa on Monday, which included a 30m chip-in birdie, and a three-over 74 at Otumoetai, including two birdies, yesterday.
“After nine holes [at Otumoetai] my dad asked me ‘how are you going?’ I said ‘I’m like three-over,’” Zheng said. “Then the next hole, I had a birdie and was like ‘dang it, he didn’t see.’”
Second place overall is currently being held down by Zuyi Li of Pinehurst School on 228, and Tiaki Ogilvie of Heaton Normal Intermediate is hot on his heels with a gross score of 230.
Ogilvie said he likes playing on fast greens, and hoped to use that to his advantage in the last round as his putting has been the weak part of his game up to this point.
“My coach told me to just try and attack every pin,” Ogilvie said. “So, I’ll try and make birdies and not play any dumb shots.”
In the stableford standings, Tyler Van Asselt of Whakatane Intermediate leads the field on 130 points, with Jahrone Coles from Pongakawa School and Oliver Monkman from Taupo Intermediate hot on his trail.
The girls’ stableford field is led by Michelle Huang from Chilton St James School, whose 115 point has her sitting eighth overall heading into the final day of play.
A variety of regions are represented in the AIMS Games golf tournament, with golfers such as Auroa Primary School’s Brylee Winter being as example of people coming from all over the country to compete.
The 13-year old is the only competitor from the South Taranaki school at this year’s Games, and made the four and a half hour trek to Tauranga on Sunday night with her dad.
Last year, Auroa Primary School took home third place in the golf teams’ competition, so Winter is a bit disappointed that she doesn’t have any team mates this time around.
Sitting at 27th overall on the individual gross table heading into day four, she’s hopefully of making a charge into the top-three.
“If I don’t get a medal, I’m just going to put this down to experience,” she said.
The tournament will continue on tomorrow at the Mount golf course, teeing off at 8am, with prizegiving taking place afterward.