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Thursday 12 November 2009 | Published in Regional

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The Rarotonga Golf Club championships took a two week break while many of the golfers flew over for the Aitutaki open, with the finals held last Saturday.

After the lack of recent rains, the course was very dry and many competitors struggled to cope with the ‘extra run’, the very fast greens and challenging pin placements.

All finalists except the vets’ division had to play 36 holes, so stamina was an important factor.

It was the battle of the Pacific Mini Games gold medalists in the senior men’s division -- James Herman beating Sonny Karati, with the latter’s excellent putting taking a holiday.

The senior ladies’ division saw games representative Maara Kenning and Mena Howard battling it out, with Maara ending up on top.

In the other divisions Pokoina Matara defeated Henry R Henry in the intermediate men’s, while Toru Areai played well to defeat Tania Karati in the intermediate ladies. Toru is one of the few golfers to improve her handicap this year.

George Hosking was up against Ngapoko Ngatamaine in the junior A men’s, with Ngapoko winning out.

In the junior B men’s Frank Berg and Peter McKinley cruised around in the cart in the battle of the ‘war wounded’ with Peter being the victor.

Big-hitting Ake Tereia came up against Bernadette Raffe in the junior ladies’ event.

Ake couldn’t quite control the ball and Bernadette played some nice golf to be the winner.

In what promised to be a close match Riiti Mamanu did battle against Enua Bishop in the vets’ division. But Riiti was not up to his usual standard and Enua won on the day.

Sonny Karati has recently returned from competing in the Asia Pacific Amateur tournament.

This was the first time that a Cook Islands player has been invited to play in this event. Because the Cook Islands Golf Association is now a member of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation there will be more opportunities in the future for golfers to play overseas.

Sonny now has automatic entry in the next big Asia Pacific competition as well as another Cook Islands golfer who will be named closer to the time.

There will also be more opportunities available with our membership to the recently formed Oceania Golf Association.

It is really good to see Cook Islanders getting the chance for international experience, especially since the sport of golf will be part of the 2016 Olympic Games.

I know this is aiming high but that is what we do so well.

I’m sure that all our golfers are still basking in the glory won by our players in the Pacific Mini Games, particularly by young Elmay Viking who showed such great courage in her fight-back to win individual gold.