Golfer gets past wildlife, injury
A Taupo teenager has overcome a broken hand and thieving mangrove mud crabs to secure fourth place in the South Pacific Junior Golf Open in New Caledonia.
Olly Monkman  fractured his hand after slipping on ice three weeks before the contest began.
He was representing Taupo Golf Club in the under 21 tournament and competed against 44 players from Australia, Tahiti, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
He said the biggest challenges he faced, besides his sore hand, were the coconut trees and the mangrove mud crabs, which are known for taking off with the golf balls. They only claimed on of his this year.
‘‘It is a risk and reward course, you either get a really high score or a really low one.’’
‘‘It was exciting and fun, I met everyone from last year,’’ he said.
Olly’s mum Susan Monkman said it was a tough course, held over three days against a backdrop of spectacular scenery.
Olly had the splinting removed from his hand at the start of the tournament, and despite a rocky start, he managed to play all games.
He said after taking Panadol for his pain he felt better, and was glad he didn’t remove himself from the tournament.
Olly won runner up for his age group and overall placed 4th in the Under 21 tournament.
Olly said he didn’t expect to come fourth and said it was a shock when he did.
If there was one thing he learnt from the experience it was to never give up when things get tough.
‘‘Day one I was nowhere, and near the end [of day three] I was fourth.’’
Wilson Simmonds  also went along and competed in his first international tournament.
The boys played at Tina Golf Course, a sister Course to Taupo Golf Course, and experienced amazing French hospitality, food and culture.
Players from New Caledonia hope to attend Taupo Junior Masters tournament in October where they can share the cultural experience of the town, said Susan.