AUSSIES EYE NEW ZEALAND AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

31/10/2017


With one of the globes greatest amateur events completed last week (the Asia-Pacific Amateur), we now move to our greatest with the New Zealand Amateur Championship starting tomorrow at the Russley Golf Club.

Competed for since 1893, the men’s is one of the oldest sporting trophies in the country and an extremely strong field is here in Christchurch to compete for it.

This week has a Trans-Tasman feel to it with 16 Australians making the journey across the ditch, led by defending champion, Louis Dobbelaar.

Dobbelaar made a name for himself at Royal Wellington Golf Club last year where he defeated top-ranked Kiwi Luke Toomey in the semi-final after three playoff holes, before defeating Peter Spearman-Burn 2&1 in the final.

If Dobbelaar is able to repeat his 2016 efforts, he would become only the ninth male golfer to accomplish the feat, which was most recently achieved by another Australian, Matt Jager in 2009 and 2010.

“It’s awesome to be back it’s going to be a fun week and the course is looking great, but you will have to drive well, it’s bloody tight!” Smiled 16-year-old Dobbelaar.

After winning this event at such a young age he is pleased for the opportunities it created.

“This event definitely opened a few doors which was unbelievable, so it’s definitely helped my confidence and I enjoy playing here.”

Dobbelaar also competed in the Queensland Open last week and just missed the cut in a very strong professional field, which is all a great experience and preparation for tomorrow.

Off the back of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, also held at Royal Wellington last week, there are six returning players who add huge strength to the field. Daniel Hillier finished the week as the leading New Zealander in a tie for sixth while Kerry Mountcastle, Ryan Chisnall, James Anstiss, Luke Brown and New Zealand Stroke-Play champion Mark Hutson all adding huge depth to the field.

There is also a handful of local talent who will enjoy being in their backyard with Matt McLean, Tom Parker and Dominic Brettkelly flying the flag for Canterbury. These three have made huge progress over the past year and are now in the position to be genuine contenders.

Russley Golf Club last hosted the championship in 2011 when Mat Perry won the men’s and a 14-year-old Lydia Ko claimed the women’s title. We could be witnessing the next superstar at the top this coming Sunday.

There is no shortage of talent in the women’s field this week with two past champions in Rose Zheng and Chantelle Cassidy.

Zheng rose to stardom last year after claiming two victories in a row (Harewood Open, NZ Amateur) but will have to work hard to repeat the dose with Amelia Garvey also in the field. There will be huge local interest as she looks to hold both major titles after winning the New Zealand Amateur Stroke-Play in March.

The five-day tournament starts with two rounds of stroke-play where we will find the top 32 golfers in both fields. From there it is do or die as we look for our finalists who will play 36 holes of match play on Sunday to decide the country’s best amateur.

The opening round of stroke-play starts at 7:15am tomorrow.

 

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  • OOM LEADERBOARD

    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Hillier, Daniel 145.33
    2 Hutson, Mark 129.70
    3 McLean, Matthew 104.28
    4 Mountcastle, Kerry 89.34
    5 Chisnall, Ryan 79.35
    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Garvey, Amelia 150.50
    2 Cassidy, Chantelle 147.85
    3 Hung, Juliana 126.72
    4 Zheng, Rose 117.00
    5 Campbell, Alanna 101.00