Superb first round sets up Bonnington win
Mangawhai’s annual Tom Bonnington Cup for elite men golfers this year attracted a field of outstanding calibre with nearly half the field holding handicaps of scratch or better.
The tournament saw stand-out performances from young Jang Hyun Lee (Titirangi) and Joshua Bai (Akarana) alongside Mangawhai’s own Scott Wightman over the two rounds. On Saturday May 25, Lee shot an exceptional 65 opening round (7 under par) to equal the Blue Championship Tees course record, while 13-year-old Bai scored an impressive 67.
Wightman’s 70 kept him in touch with the two leaders, setting up a close contest on Sunday. Saturday was warm and sunny with no wind while Sunday brought some overhead cloud and a little easterly breeze to test the golfers.
The three leaders, along with Kit Bittle (Gulf Harbour), were in the final playing group and there was a lot of interest among the many spectators as they teed off on Sunday morning. The opportunity was there for Wightman’s experience and local course knowledge to perhaps put pressure on the two younger players but they held their nerve superbly in the face of his impressive 68 second round.
Lee’s final round was a 69 to go with his 65 and this saw him finish 3 ahead of Bai (a final round of 70) and 4 ahead of Wightman. In the Nett section, Lee Newman (Mangawhai) recorded nett rounds of 67 and 73 to head off Zane Hinton (Mangawhai) by 1 shot. In all, some 64 players were entered in the Blue Tee division, coming from 27 different clubs from Carrington to Palmerston North.
Entries reflected the status of The Bonnington – a New Zealand Golf Order of Merit tournament and a representative trial for Northland and North Harbour players. “It’s a brilliant lineup and to see the course record equalled really made the weekend for us,” said men’s club captain Barry Brennan.
“We enjoy this opportunity to showcase our course and it’s rewarding to see so many top players stepping up to the challenge.” In all, nine of the players shot below par for the two rounds.
A White Tee Division was also played over the two days and the Nett prize was taken out by Ryan Xie (Maungakiekie) with a score of 76-64-140, beating local identity BK Kim on a countback, just one shot clear of BK’s son Phillip.
The Stableford prize was won by local Larry Renner (75 points) ahead of club president Tony Vale (72 points). A common talking point amongst the players was the outstanding quality of the putting surfaces. Overall, the course was well presented.
angawhai is not the longest course but it demands skill and every hole offers a special challenge to even the best of players. Thanks to sponsors and volunteers, prizegiving was held in a packed clubhouse.