CHARLES TOUR: JOHN JONES STEEL HAREWOOD OPEN: AMATEURS LEAD THE WAY

25/10/2012

Manawatu amateur Josh Munn made history at the Harewood Golf Club but he wasn’t alone as the amateurs once again outclassed the professional field and showed the value of the Charles Tour.

 


It also showed that the structure of the New Zealand Golf High Performance programme is delivering results.

 

Four amateurs, Munn, Owen Burgess (Russley), Blair Riordan (Takaka) and Daniel Peace (Ashburton) claimed the top four places at the Christchurch event as seven amateurs finished inside the top eight players. 

 

Auckland professional Scott Hill was the exception as he finished as the leading professional on an even par total in fifth place, 11 shots back from the champion Munn, to claim the $7200 cheque.

 

While Fraser Wilkin (Royal Auckland), Oscar Cadenhead (Clearwater) and Jordan Bakermans (Christchurch) all had fine weeks as they finished in a share of fifth place. 

 

Throughout the history of the Charles Tour since 2008 five amateur golfers, Munn, Wilkin, Troy Ropiha, Ben Campbell and Josh Geary, have won events.

 

Munn became the first golfer to win two titles and also the first to win wire-to-wire for the second time.

 

For Gregg Thorpe, the High Performance Manager at New Zealand Golf, the improved performance of the amateurs across New Zealand is very encouraging.

 

This success highlights the development pathway established within the national programme is having a positive impact.

 

“It is very pleasing to see Josh win again and also to see the number of amateurs who are becoming consistently competitive at Charles Tour events,” said Thorpe.

 

“It is not by chance. A good number of these golfers have come through the various levels of the national programme. An important part of this pathway is having them experience age and stage appropriate playing opportunities at an international level.

 

“That experience really pays off when they are put to the test on a tough golf course like Harewood where its puts a premium on ball striking but also on your course strategy.

 

“The Charles Tour is designed to get more Kiwi professionals on the main tours around the world and prepare them as best we can for the big step from amateur to professional golf.

 

“The recent results indicate that this is exactly what is happening and it is good for the current professionals looking to fine-tune their games for bigger events. They know that when they come to play in Charles Tour events that the top amateurs won’t be easy beats and they have to earn their wins.”

 

The results at Harewood were not an anomaly.  Back in May Royal Auckland golfer Fraser Wilkin won the ask>metro Muriwai Open from rookie professional Ryan Fox with Auckland amateur Sam An in third place.

 

Six out of the top 11 players were amateur at Muriwai in a quality field that included the likes of Michael Hendry and Mark Brown.

 

The Port Taranaki Open was the exception in 2012. Fraser Wilkin finished in a share of seventh place as the leading amateur as the professionals dominated to claim 12 of the top 13 places.

 

But at the Carrus Open in Tauranga Takaka amateur Blair Riordan led the tournament for most of the week before fading in the final round to be overtaken by Brown. Again four of the top eight golfers were amateurs.

 

It confirmed that the Charles Tour is proving a great breeding ground for our talent.

 

Thorpe expects more amateurs to be competitive and even win on The Charles Tour in 2013 and beyond.

 

“Absolutely, the young guys, led by Josh, are showing they are fearless and love to win.

 

“Many of our Srixon Development players like Jordan Bakermans and Compton Pikari have recorded top 10 results on the tour and feel comfortable now.

 

“Those performances instill belief that they can beat the pros and that belief is a big part of their continued development.”

 

 

 

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