North Shore amateur Hanee Song made an impressive comeback to competitive golf today at the Recreational Services Akarana Open on the Charles Tour in Auckland.

The 18-year-old, who has not played any tournament golf for the past 10 months, had a superb opening round of three-under par 69 to claim a one shot lead over Northland professional Caroline Bon.

Munchin Keh, the defending North Island Stroke Play Champion as the event co-hosts both events for the first time, is in a share of third place with Fai Tongdethsri after signing for a one-over par 73.

But the performance of Song was most impressive as she made her comeback a memorable one.

“It felt really good to be back,” said Song.

“It has been awhile since I played in a tournament and I played better than what I thought I would.

Song said she had a hiatus away from the game for almost a year for personal reasons.

“A bit of health issues, a bit of financial issues, bit of everything… it is really nice to be back.”

The former North Harbour rep had only played Akarana three times before the opening round and got into the red numbers when she holed a 30ft putt for birdie on three.

“I made two bogeys on hole 8 and 9 so I was kind of down but I made two straight birdies on 10 and 11 and it went from there. I am comfortable, better than before I stopped playing golf. I don’t know why. I think my body just got a really good rest and I feel better now.”

Song said it was great to get off to a good start and she is looking forward to the challenge of the final two rounds as she looks to stay in the lead of both the Akarana Open and the North Island Stroke Play.

Meanwhile Bon, who is a multiple winner on the Charles Tour, said this week’s tournament was an important build up as she prepares for a busy upcoming stretch on the Asian and Chinese Tours.

“I am feeling pretty good about my position,” said the 27-year-old, who will play 25 – 30 pro events this year.

“I am trialling a few things out with my game so it is nice to be able to put them into play out on the course at a tournament in New Zealand.”

The former NZ rep is one of only four women professionals in the field and is looking to compare her game against the guys to give her a solid test.

As a result of the tail end of Cyclone Ita, Round One of the Recreational Services Akarana Open was abandoned and the tournament was reduced to a 54 hole event. There will be a 36-hole cut made tomorrow night for the final round.



    1 Jones, Samuel 115.78
    2 Lee, Jang Hyun 83.56
    3 Zheng, Jimmy 73.73
    4 Ford, Jayden 66.16
    5 Bai, Joshua 66.10
    1 Chung, Darae 260.13
    2 Son, Yeonsoo 110.19
    3 Xu, Fiona 93.60
    4 Im, Amy 69.80
    5 Kang, Sumin 69.60