Wellington amateur Te Rongopai Clay leads the New Zealand Women’s Age Group Championship after carding a five over par 77 in round two at the Mangawhai Golf Club..

The Titahi Bay golfer holds a one stroke advantage over her good friend and Wellington team-mate Julianne Alvarez who shot the round of the tournament a two over par 74.

Remuera golfer Lita Guo, who opened with a six over par 78 to be in a share of the tied, is one stroke further back in third place.

The big-hitting pint-sized Clay is looking to win her first national title. She knows that she will need to improve in the final round to hold off the New Zealand rep Alvarez.

“I struggled a bit with my putting today,” said Clay.

“The weather was better than yesterday but I had so many three-putts which was frustrating. I just wasn’t getting the speed right. These greens are a lot quicker than what I am used to back home in Wellington.

“I am hoping to improve on that tomorrow and keep consistent with my game. I am looking forward to the challenge of playing in the final group.”

Meantime Alvarez, who opened with a disappointing 10 over par 82, roared back into contention with a timely two over par 74. She is looking forward to the battle with her good friend.

“I played well today,” said the 15-year-old from the Manor Park Golf Club

“It was much better than yesterday and yeah it was a good comeback after round one, something I needed.”

Alvarez said the wind wasn’t as strong as round one and she made some adjustments to her game after learning how to play the Mangawhai Golf Club.

“I found that putting on the slick greens that we have here I needed to allow for the wind. I managed to clean that up today which reflected on my score.”

Alvarez, like Clay, is looking to win her first national title after a number of finishes as the bridesmaid.

“The game plan for tomorrow is to treat it like any other round and to continue to stick to my routine, stick to my process goals and the rest should take care of itself.

“The key will be to have fun, which is not hard when I’m playing with Te Rongopai.”




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