2017 NZ Strokeplays Set To Go
New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play Preview
New Zealand’s leading amateur golfers will tee it up for the prestigious New Zealand Stroke Play title at Hastings Golf Club this Thursday.
A new champion will be crowned in the men’s field with two-time winner Luke Toomey having recently turned professional, whilst in the women’s they will once again be chasing down one of the country’s leading amateurs, Chantelle Cassidy.
It’s hard to pick a winner in both divisions with the amount of raw talent registered to play which makes for an exciting competition.
One man who will be looking to go one better than last year is Wellington’s Jonathan Cane who lost in a playoff to Toomey after the Waikato number one came from eight shots back due to Cane’s uncharacteristic final round of 76. In Toomey’s absence, Cane will be aiming to secure this elusive title.
“It was a tough way to finish last year, but I have learnt from that and can’t wait to give it another crack this week,” said Cane.
Cane has been nothing short of brilliant since his loss in the playoff after guiding his young Wellington Interprovincial side to glory late last year with a near perfect record for the week.
“To win that is far better than any individual prize, but this would certainly add to what has been a good few months for me.”
Another Wellingtonian who will be hoping to add his name to the history books is the now experienced amateur Daniel Hillier. Hillier is the current holder of the Te Mana A Toi Trophy for the low-round of the tournament (65) which helped him come close to the title at the Christchurch Golf Club last year. He too recorded a tough final round of 76, alongside Cane, to fall out of contention.
Redemption will be on his mind as he looks to engrave his name into yet another piece of New Zealand Golf silverware.
“It was a disappointing final round last year and I am certainly coming back to bury those demons,” said Hillier.
“This is one trophy I am dying to get my name on, so hopefully I can put four good rounds together and get over the line in Hastings.”
Adding to the mix are names such as New Zealand representative Nick Coxon, Henry Spring, Shaun Campbell and the new South Island Stroke Play champion Mark Hutson who won in very dominant fashion earlier this month.
Chantelle Cassidy returns to the event in search for back-to-back glory and to put her name on the Mellsop Cup for the third time.
However, as per usual the women’s field provides a mouth-watering contest with the rise of many young golfers looking to challenge Cassidy’s command of the field.
Headlining the chasing peloton are the three players who were recently selected in the Queen Sirikit Cup team with Alanna Campbell, Amelia Garvey and Rose Zheng ready to rumble in Hastings.
Zheng is in line to join a very select club by winning both the New Zealand Amateur Match Play and the Stroke Play Championships in the same year if she continues her sensational form.
For the men, these prestigious amateur events take on a new intensity this year with the knowledge that the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship will be hosted in New Zealand this October.
Royal Wellington Golf Club is set to host this prestigious amateur event and the host country is rewarded with ten spots in the field instead of the usual six. Players will be wanting to improve their amateur rankings to stay in the running to compete for the best prize of all - playing in both The Masters and The Open Championship in 2018.