Judge­ford pushes for golf honours

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

Ryan Waller is back in the fold and lov­ing his golf.

The Judge­ford in­ter­club player will be a mem­ber of a strong team that tees off for their third con­sec­u­tive sea­son in the top divi­sion.

A for­mer junior at the club, he took some time away from the game, then played at other clubs in the re­gion, but is happy to be back.

‘‘It’s a nice club - the peo­ple are great, the course is in fan­tas­tic nick, and I’m at a point in my life where I can put more ef­fort in,’’ he said.

Waller, 31, who plays off a 5 hand­i­cap, ac­knowl­edged he will be be in the ‘‘bot­tom half’’ of the in­ter­club team, but is rel­ish­ing the chance to play at cour­ses like Royal Welling­ton and Para­pa­raumu this sum­mer.

He said Judge­ford have a sound lineup and could push hard for honours.

‘‘There’s a few younger guys, along with some ex­pe­ri­ence, so we have a re­ally good mix, from play­ers [ranked] one through 10. ‘‘I think we’ll do well.’’ Grow­ing up in Ti­tahi Bay and hav­ing the Ti­tahi course on his doorstep, he said the game of golf was some­thing he en­joyed from a young age.

‘‘It’s a game with the big­gest highs and the low­est lows but I like the fact it’s all on you.

‘‘I like test­ing my­self and play­ing in­ter­club at this level will cer­tainly give me the chance to do that.’’

While highly rated Michael Payne is un­avail­able to play this sum­mer, Judge­ford have a largely set­tled side.

Hay­den Ring and Jay­den Ford will likely play in the top four, with the other spots to be de­ter­mined at a tour­na­ment this week­end.

One big name for Judge­ford will be an­nounced soon, man­ager Joe Cuthers said.

‘‘We know who we’ve got avail­able, it’s just a case of who plays where in the lineup,’’ he said.

After a hon­ey­moon sea­son in 2015, con­sol­i­da­tion and fan­tas­tic re­sults in 2016, this sea­son is all about push­ing the top teams hard, he said.

‘‘We re­ally think we’re good enough to play in the [sec­ond round, top four] Dun­can Cup.

‘‘Golf can be a cruel game some­times, but if we strike some con­sis­tency, we be­lieve we have the play­ers to do it.’’

Cuthers said Para­pa­raumu, with the Spear­man-Burn brothers at the fore­front, will likely be front-run­ners, as will Royal Welling­ton.

He hoped Judge­ford could lead the chas­ing bunch, but said it would take a big ef­fort to do so.

With an ex­cel­lent junior pro­gramme in place, Cuthers said all is tick­ing along nicely at Judge­ford.

The other mem­bers of the firstround Otaki Cup are Shan­don, Master­ton, Para­pa­raumu, Royal Welling­ton, Boul­cott’s Farm and Mi­ra­mar.

The first round is at Master­ton on Jan­uary 28, where Judge­ford will take on Royal Welling­ton, and in round two they are pit­ted against Para­pa­raumu at Boul­cott’s Farm.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Ryan Waller, who will be play­ing in­ter­club golf for Judge­ford’s top side in 2017.

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