New Zealand Amateur champion Sam Jones is off to a flying start at the New Zealand Strokeplay in his quest of adding a third national title to his name in a year.

Jones fired a round of four-under 68 to lead after the opening day at Hastings Golf Club; a golf club the Manaia Golf Club member is fond of. He won the Hastings Open here a little over a month ago, and says the course sets up well for him.

“I really like this golf course; I’ve obviously played a few times with the Hastings Open being held here last month. It’s relatively forgiving off the tee and it just seems to suit my game,” Jones explains.

He says his game is in good shape and he felt in control of his game today.

“It was pretty good today. I got off to a solid start hitting the first eight greens on the front nine and managed roll a couple of short birdie putts in the first few holes.

“I made par on three of the four par 5s which I wasn’t too happy about but snuck a couple back on the second, fourth, and sixth to get to five-under. I three-putted the seventh but it is what it is, I played solid today,” he says.

Jones has an opportunity to achieve something truly special this week. He won the North Island Strokeplay in August last year and added the New Zealand Amateur trophy to his growing trophy cabinet in October.

He’ll join a small group of people to have three national titles to their names if he finishes on top this week. However, he’s not getting ahead of himself just yet.

“I’m just trying to stay calm and go and play golf.

“It’d be an awesome achievement. There’s still plenty of golf left to go but I’d hate to think what’d go on after the event if I could manage to get that done,” he says with a smile on his face.

Trailing just one shot behind is in-form Auckland amateur Jared Edwards.

The left-hander was off early this morning in the cooler conditions and managed to finish well to post a score early.

He says he’s happy with the round.

“I got off to a bit of a slow start, but I was actually hitting it really well. I made a sloppy bogey on the fourth where I three-putted from the fringe, but I managed to keep it together with a few pars and I came strong with three birdies in the last five holes.

“I kept the ball in play which is what you have to do around here. Missing it the wrong spots can be penal, you just have to give yourself lots of looks and you’ll hole some eventually,” Edwards says.

He has fond memories winning the New Zealand Men’s Interprovincials here at the end of last year. He’s looking to create some more memories here this year.

“The course is mint, it’d have to be one of my favourite courses in New Zealand. I loved having the interprovincials here and I have pretty fond memories of my time here.

“I’ve still got a long way to go this week, but it’d be awesome to be in the mix come the end of the week," he says.
Play gets underway tomorrow morning at 7.45. 


    1 Hydes, James 147.28
    2 Kobori, Kazuma 146.00
    3 Thompson, Mako 107.58
    4 Jones, Samuel 98.70
    5 Zheng, Jimmy 96.58
    1 Chung, Darae 238.04
    2 Kobori, Momoka 142.00
    3 Xu, Fiona 98.04
    4 Son, Yeonsoo 90.74
    5 Maurice, Caitlin 84.77