New Zealand Golf has named a four strong team to play in the inaugural Ten Nations Cup in South Africa in February.
The players who have been selected are Vaughan McCall (Gore), Blair Riordan (Takaka), Josh Munn (Manawatu) and Tyler Hodge (Levin).
The Ten Nations Cup, which will be staged at the Kingswood Golf Estate in George from February 6 -9, is an amalgamation of the Four Nations Cup and the Southern Cross Trophy.
Gregg Thorpe, the New Zealand Golf High Performance Manager, said with a few of the more experienced players moving on to the professional game it's now a time for a new group of leading amateur players to emerge.
“The four selected players have all performed well both domestically and internationally over the last 12 months and will no doubt relish the opportunity to put the Sliver Fern on and proudly represent New Zealand,” said Thorpe.
The Four Nations Cup was last staged at The Hills near Arrowtown where the New Zealand team of Ben Campbell, Ryan Fox, Mathew Perry and McCall finished runner-up to Australia.
It was a biannual event and is now played over four rounds of stroke play between 10 countries. The teams confirmed at this stage include Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England, Scotland and Ireland with three more teams to be added in time.
The teams comprise of four male players with the best three scores each day contributing to the team’s score.
Following the event the New Zealand team will compete in the South African Stroke Play Championship from February 12- 15 at the Ernie Els designed Oubaai Golf Club in George.
“These players have won a number of events between them in 2012, so given this and the experience they have all picked up internationally this year I'm sure they will be competitive,” added Thorpe of their chances at both events.
“They will all be looking forward to matching up against the other top nations that will attend and it will be an ideal time to benchmark their current progress.”
McCall made history when he was the first golfer in 24 years to win both the NZ Amateur and the NZ Stroke Play in the same year. He went onto finish runner-up at the Welsh Stroke Play and tied 13thon the individual standings at the Eisenhower World Amateur Team’s Championship in Turkey.
Munn made history of his own when he became the first amateur to win two titles on The Charles Tour when he claimed the John Jones Steel Harewood Open in Christchurch. He followed that up with a runner-up finish at the Juan Carlos tournament in Argentina (alongside Jordan Bakermans) and was a finalist in the Argentine Amateur.
Hodge also rewrote the record books when he became the first New Zealand golfer to win both the Australian Age Group and New Zealand Age Group titles in the same year. He was also a member of the Manawatu - Wanganui team who won the SBS Invitational.
Riordan, who was part of the team that won the Sloan Morpeth trophy in Australia last year, was the leading individual at this year’s SBS Invitational and runner-up at the Carrus Open on The Charles Tour.
Thorpe believed the players will enjoy the challenge of a new event.
“This is a great addition to our national playing calendar, to be able to play the Home Nations as well as other top nations on international level courses is just the experience these players need in the year prior to the World Amateur Teams Championships.”
He expected the resort style courses - Kingswood Golf Estate and Oubaai Golf Club - would suit the Kiwis’ games.
“All of these players have experience on such course designs. What will need to be managed is the travel time to South Africa and change of time zone. And of course every playing environment has its own subtitles that need to be figured out during the scheduled practice rounds.”
New Zealand Golf Ten Nations Team:
Vaughan McCall (Gore), Blair Riordan (Takaka), Josh Munn (Manawatu) and Tyler Hodge (Levin).
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