NEW ZEALAND WOMEN’S AMATEUR FINALISTS FOUND

24/10/2020

A new name is set to be etched on the New Zealand Women’s Amateur Championship trophy tomorrow afternoon at Poverty Bay Golf Club.

Auckland’s Fiona Xu will do battle against Manawatu Wanganui’s Tara Raj in the 36-hole championship final tomorrow morning as both got through their quarterfinal and semifinal matches today.

The number two seed going into the matchplay, Raj, did it tough this morning in her quarterfinal match against North Harbour’s Anna An, coming from behind to win on the 19th.

She then was drawn against Amy Im this afternoon and continued her good momentum from her playoff win early in the match.

Raj won four of her opening six holes to establish an unassailable lead.

Im rallied on the back nine but the damage was done, and Raj eventually won on the 17th 2&1.

She says she’s excited to get underway tomorrow.

“It feels really good. I’ve wanted to do well in this tournament for the last few years, but I came into the week with no expectations. We haven’t even booked accommodation for this far into the week, we’re kind of winging it and luckily have found a place to stay tonight.

“It just feels really good to be playing tomorrow,” she says.

Raj didn’t have her ‘A’ game by her standards today but was proud of the way she battled all day to reach her first New Zealand Amateur final.

“I was hitting the ball fairly average but just tried my best to grind it out this morning; I wasn’t playing that good on the first nine this morning and came right at the end just in time. The week has been good so far,” Raj says.

She enjoys the matchplay format having won the player of the tournament honors at The New Zealand Women’s Interprovincials at the end of last year.

Raj says she’s got a solid gameplan ahead of tomorrow’s final.

“I’m just going to keep it the same and play each shot as it comes. I like this format as I can be a bit more aggressive. I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself.”

She’ll be up against Fiona Xu who has also progressed to her first New Zealand Women’s Amateur final after defeating Aileen Du in this morning’s quarterfinal, and then the tournament favourite and number one seed Momoka Kobori this afternoon.

Xu played some of her best golf to beat Kobori this afternoon, and even surprised herself a little.

She says she’s ecstatic to get through to the big dance.

“It feels great. I didn’t expect to win against Momoka as she’s really professional at everything she does and other really good players like Darae [Chung] have lost to her; but I somehow won on the last hole so I’m really happy,” she says.

Xu was impressive all round this afternoon making birdies at the fifth and seventh holes to make the turn at 2up.

The pair traded blows during the back nine, and they stood on the 18th tee at all square.

An errant drive from Kobori down the last forced her to lay up with her second. She could only manage a bogey while Xu made par to book her spot in the final.

She says she’s looking forward to playing Raj in tomorrow’s final.

“My goal is to keep myself in the present tomorrow. In past matches I’ve thought about the result too much.

“I played with Tara in the strokeplay rounds and I’m really excited to play her tomorrow,” Xu says.

The final gets underway from 8am.

 

    OOM LEADERBOARD

    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Hydes, James 156.07
    2 Kobori, Kazuma 123.61
    3 Thompson, Mako 110.28
    4 Jones, Samuel 93.31
    5 Zheng, Jimmy 86.98
    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Chung, Darae 218.92
    2 Kobori, Momoka 159.50
    3 Xu, Fiona 128.24
    4 Son, Yeonsoo 96.58
    5 Lu, Vivian 91.25