Hot second round takes Meenhorst to cup win
Long recognised as one of the North Island’s most prestigious amateur events, the Tom Bonnington Cup tournament attracted an outstanding field to Mangawhai Golf Club on the weekend of May 27 and 28.
The NZ Order of Merit tournament follows on from the recent successful Partners Life Mangawhai Pro-Am.
As Mangawhai will host this year's Toro Interprovincial Championships, interest was high from associations outside Northland, with Waikato, Auckland and North Harbour sending strong contingents to play this demanding course.
In all, 73 men entered, along with 13 women who competed in the associated Mangawhai Invitational.
Play was over 36 holes (18 holes each day) off the club's blue championship tees for men and the club white tees for women, with the draw for round two seeded from round one results.
The weather was exceptionally settled, with blue skies and gentle breezes on both days. Despite recent heavy rains, the course was presented in excellent condition and the greens proved a challenge to all.
Unfortunately, on Saturday night someone drove in circles on the 9th green, causing considerable damage. The greens team worked brilliantly early Sunday morning to smooth the tyre marks and restore the surface to a playing condition.
Fairways were well defined and, despite a few soft areas, lies were generally good for all players. As often happens, visitors were caught out by the subtlety in the course's layout, and the need for accurate placement of shots to the green was soon realised.
Day one saw only two players scoring better than par: Jake Lee (Muriwai) with 69 and Jake Meenhorst (Huapai) with 71.
With a number of players not having played Mangawhai before, scores were higher than anticipated and it was gratifying to see all players determined to do better the following day.
On Sunday, an early start off tees 1 and 10 saw some tentative tee shots but as the sun rose higher the scoring warmed up.
Playing together in the final group, Meenhorst and Lee started well, along with their playing partners Kit Bittle and James Hydes (both from Wainui).
At the halfway point, Jake Meenhorst eased into the lead as Jake Lee started to slip back.
In the following group, Sul Im (Huapai) was making a strong move but the 2-shot start he gave Meenhorst proved too much to pull back, Meenhorst playing some outstanding golf to record a second-round 67 for a total of 138, 6 under par for the event.
Jake Lee's 73 just held on to second place, with Sul Im coming in third (73-70) ahead of Kit Bittle (73-71) and James Hydes (72-73).
Local player Scott Wightman shot two steady rounds of 73 while last year's winner Ben Jujnovich (Redwood Park) shot a pair of 76's.
In the Women's Mangawhai Invitational, last year's winner Kylie Jacoby (Waipu) once again proved she knows her way around the course, shooting 78-76 to win by two shots from Vaha Fapiano (North Shore) with a further 3 shots back to Silvia Brunotti (North Shore).
The well-attended prizegiving was presided over by men's club captain Wayne Watts who congratulated the field on their efforts and expressed the club's thanks for support received from Northland and neighbouring golf associations.
BIG LEAD: Jake Meenhorst shoots 6 under par over two rounds to win the Tom Bonnington Cup for 2017.