By TONY WHITE
AFTER a disastrous start, Grafton golf star Malina Rumble has zoomed back into contention in the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation's Harvey Norman Week of Golf.
The 90-hole, five round prestigious tournament is being played in the Moss-Vale Bowral area, south of Sydney.
Seventeen-year-old Rumble, playing off a five handicap, opened her quest shakily notching 93 gross in the opening round at the treacherous Kangaroo Valley layout on Monday.
"It was just a bad day, Christmas hangover," she joked when interviewed yesterday. "Thankfully, I've improved since then."
Rumble followed up with a great 76 at Mount Broughton that won her overall gross and nett honours in the field of 256 male and female competitors from around NSW.
At Bowral, on Wednesday, Rumble shot 87 then further improved her position in the 17 and under girls division with a fine 80.
After four rounds Rumble has a gross score of 336 (nett 316) and is placed third in her age group and fifth overall in the female section.
Considering her start and the fact she has never laid eyes on any of the tricky courses, the Grafton District Golf Club ladies' course record holder has done remarkably well.
This time last year she won the Prime 90 tournament in the Illawarra region.
"It's been really hard, extremely windy," Rumble said.
"I've never played the courses before and many of the holes, especially with the wind, have been difficult.
"The courses have been very hilly, nothing like I'm used to playing at home."
And adding to the difficulty has been substantial rough off the fairways.
"The grass is up to your waist in some places," Rumble said.
Asked for a personal appraisal of her golf to date, the typically humble teenager barely gave herself a pass mark.
"I've putted brilliantly to stay in there, but the rest of my game has been very average," she said.
"Hopefully I can improve in the last round."
The final round takes place at Highlands Golf Course.
Following the tournament Rumble, coached by Grafton Golf Club's resident professional Mark Harvison, intends taking a short holiday before returning home to 'work on my game.