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Golf began in perfect conditions on Wednesday.

Photo/Pacific Games News Service

Sports

Pacific Games 2023: Golf debuts alongside teen Tongan golf prodigy who leads first round

Day three ended with no shift in medal tally positions but Australia close in on top spot.

Vaimaila Leatinu'u
Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u
Published
23 November 2023, 8:00am
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The first round of golf closed off with the individual women's match's top spot taken by a young Tongan prodigy of the game.

Sālote Alexis Vakasiuola, who has been featured in the New York Times alongside her older sister Alyzzah Vakasiuola, is leading with an opening round of 73.

The 16-year-old also won the State Junior Golf Championship at Paradise Valley Country Club in June this year, where a year prior she took home the top honours at the Maricopa Junior Championship.

Tagata Pasifika co-host John Pulu shared this image of Vakasiuola on Facebook, wishing his niece and later grandmother's namesake good luck. Photo/Facebook: John Nicholas Pulu

Vakasiuola is followed by both Kirra St Laurent of Tahiti and Margaret Lavaki of Papua New Guinea (PNG) who shot 76, with New Caledonia’s Mohea Mansbendel one back on 77.

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Men's golf 2019 silver medal winner, Guillaume Castagne returns and leads with an opening round of 67.

Only three shots back is PNG's Morgan Annato on 70 and Robert Iene of Samoa with a score of 73.

Speaking to Pacific Games News Service, Annato says his performance was overall steady and despite rushing some shots he is content with his score.

“I believe I could have performed better if not for some minor mistakes, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow for another good result," he says.

Football took a break on Wednesday but returns today along with weightlifting, volleyball and tennis on day four.

Medal tally:

New Caledonia are continuing their reign with 22 gold, gaining all five gold medals on day three through their signature sport of swimming.

Australia is in second position and have added an impressive nine gold medals to their 12, all from different divisions across weightlifting.

This places Australia one gold medal behind New Caledonia with a total of 21.

Samoa maintains the third position gaining two gold medals for a total of 10, each of which came from rugby league 9s and swimming.

Total medals earned:

New Caledonia hold the top spot for most medals at 61, with 22 gold, 18 silver and 21 bronze.

Followed behind them is Australia with 40, consisting of 21 gold, 13 silver and 6 bronze.

Finally, Tahiti are in third with 39 medals made of five gold, 14 silver and 20 bronze.

Other nation's results:

Fiji have 11 medals total, Kiribati holds seven while Cook Islands has five followed by Tonga with four.

New Zealand ended day three with a total of seven with one gold, two silver and four bronze.

Keep up with us to keep up to date with this year's Pacific Games on our site: pmn.co.nz or through our socials: Instagram, TikTok and X (formerly known as Twitter).

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