FINALISTS SET FOR NZ AMATEUR FINAL

2/11/2019

The New Zealand Men’s Amateur is made up of two golfers that weren’t expecting to make it this far at the beginning of the week.

17-year-old Bay of Plenty amateur Mitchell Kale earned his way into the big dance by defeating Jordan Woodall this morning in his quarterfinal clash, and then Mako Thompson this afternoon.

Kale says getting this far in New Zealand’s premier amateur event is a dream come true.

“It’s a pretty special feeling. If you had told me at the start of the week I was going to be in the final I’m not sure whether I would’ve believed you. But it feels great, and my game is in really good shape.

“I’m absolutely fizzed to get underway tomorrow, I’m not sure how well I’ll sleep tonight,” says a happy Kale.

The Tauranga Golf Club member says he’s been in control of his game all week, and is looking to go into the final with the exact same mindset.

“Around here it’s pretty crucial to get the ball in the fairway and I’ve done that really well this week. I’ve also been holing a few putts here and there which has been good.”

“Nothing will change come tomorrow, I intend on going in with the same game plan as I have the whole week so we’ll see what happens,” Kale says.

He faces Taranaki’s Sam Jones, who is equally as surprised to be vying for the title tomorrow.

Jones defeated Jared Edwards this morning to advance to the semi finals against another unfamiliar name in Joseph Owen.

Things seemed to be dire for Jones late in the piece as he was 2 down with just 2 holes to play.

However, a par on the difficult par 3 17th and a conceded birdie up the 18th was enough for Jones to extend the match into extra holes.

He’d capitalise on the momentum he’d swung his way, smashing a drive down the par 5 first and hitting a wedge shot into two feet for eagle. After Owen’s birdie putt came up short the hole was conceded and Jones all of a sudden found himself in the final two golfers left standing.

“It’s pretty awesome to be pegging it up in the final tomorrow. I didn’t think it’d happen there for a little bit, but I managed to get it done so I’m really stoked.

“Doing it in a playoff isn’t the easiest ways to go about it. I just stood up on the tee and tried to hit it as hard as I could and thankfully it went straight. I flicked a little lob wedge in there to a foot for eagle and that was that I guess,” says a smiling Jones.

The Taranaki golfer won the North Island Strokeplay earlier in the year, and is looking to draw on that experience tomorrow in the final.

“Knowing that I can do it does heaps for more my confidence. I drew on a couple of experiences where I’ve been in similar situations this afternoon which helped get me through. I just never gave up, you never know what could happen.

“I haven’t even thought about lifting the trophy this week. To be honest I didn’t think I’d get this far at the beginning of the week, so I’m just going to play my best and have some fun. We’ll see what happens,” Jones says.

The final gets underway from 8am tomorrow.

 

    OOM LEADERBOARD

    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Jones, Samuel 89.11
    2 Lee, Jang Hyun 83.56
    3 Bai, Joshua 70.11
    4 Zheng, Jimmy 68.22
    5 Ford, Jayden 63.49
    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Chung, Darae 166.80
    2 Xu, Fiona 89.87
    3 Son, Yeonsoo 86.85
    4 Kang, Sumin 69.60
    5 Kobori, Momoka 66.67