Wellington No.1 Julianne Alvarez has successfully defended her title at the John Jones Steel Harewood Open in Christchurch.

The 17-year-old from the Manor Park Golf Club, who won her first national title at the Charles Tour event in 2012, carded a two-under par 70 in the fine and warm conditions today to win by five strokes from Taupo amateur Grace Senior (70).

Russley golfer Elisha Crosbie (70) secured third place but this week will be remembered for the dominant performance from the defending champion.

“It is really meaningful to win back to back here,” said Alvarez.

“This is the place where it all started for me last year. I won my first national title here and it feels really good to have defended my title.”

Alvarez said that there were nerves standing on the first tee this morning as she knew the title was hers to lose.

“Grace played really well today and put pressure on me. There are always going to be nerves when you are trying to win a title but I handled it pretty well. I was just focusing on myself.”

Alvarez has enjoyed a dream season. She won the NZ Amateur title in April, the NZ Under 19 in September and now has added her second win on The Charles Tour.

She said the key to her form has been the renewed belief in her ability.

“The confidence I got from winning this tournament last year – knowing that I could win a national title – was a big turning point for me. Now I back myself more and I have sharpened up my game a lot more as well.

“The big difference that has helped me winning titles this year has been my putting. I have made big improvements in that area of my game and it is paying off.”

Alvarez is looking forward to carrying this form on to the Toro Women’s Interprovincial which will be staged in mid-December at the Muriwai Golf Club.

Wellington finished runner-up to Auckland last year at St Clair and they want to go one better in 2013.

“I hear Muriwai is really windy as well so I am looking forward to that,” she said. “We are all pretty excited about that week. It should be good fun.”



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