Church and Nishio Win NZ Mid Amateur Titles

It was a super Sunday for Titirangi and Judgeford golf clubs yesterday.  Both now have a Mid-Amateur champion in their membership!

Titirangi’s won the Women’s Golf Trust Shield with a 4-shot margin, and with dominant 6-shot lead, Judgeford’s favourite green superintendent, Adam Church, raised the Neil Woodbury Cup to be crowned the men’s champion. 

Nishio and Church were in control weekend over the strong Kiwi contingent, that was missing contenders from around the Pacific including regular Australian and New Caledonian players.  The championship was played over 3 days and 54 holes at Wellington’s Shandon course; the weather could not have been better for the start of the tournament, with Friday afternoon turning on one of Wellington’s spectacular days.

Shandon local Ben Oliver posted the best score in the opening round with a 69, 1 under par.  Church was in the mix with an opening 71, as was fellow Judgeford member Brent Walton and also Ken Meaden of Murawai, posting a 70.

The best round was Church’s Saturday effort of 67 which included birdies on the 1st, 4th, 8th, and 18th, his only blemish a bogey on the par 5, 15th.  Church went into the final round with a 1 shot lead over Meaden, who had a one-under par on Saturday.

A different day for faced the field on Sunday, the final 18 holes saw gusty winds and then rain affecting the back of the field.  Church showed his class with a one-under par, 69, the only sub-par round of the day, securing the 2021 title.

Meaden finished 2nd with a final round of 74, a total of 213, 6 back from Church’s 3-under winning score of 207.

Matthew Cormack (Remuera) 3rd on 214 (72, 70, 72), Ben Patston (Otago) 215 (73, 69, 73) in 4th place with 5th going to Michael Trass (Boulcott’s Farm) on 216.  Trass shot 72, 69 and 75.

Local Shandon members claimed the men’s best net, Sam Wilkinson, with winning stableford and runner-up places, Tavita Mene and Avinash Manu respectively.  Runner-up net was Thomas Spearman-Burn (Mirimar)

The women’s field could not match the daily steady hand of Nishio. The Titirangi dynamo opened with a round of 78 on Friday, 5 over the women’s par 73 course, then a one under 72 in round 2. 

Her round on Saturday included birdies on the 1st, 4th, 5th,  and 3 hole-birdie streak from the 13th to the 15th.  A few bogeys along the way but none-the-less a commanding performance that gave Nishio a 4-shot lead going into her final 18 holes and a look at winning the shield.

A solid 75 in the final 18 holes and the Women’s Golf Trust Shield heads to Titirangi.  2018 winner Kellie Orchard (Royal Wellington)  took on the chase with a final round of 75 but the overnight lead was too much to catch. Orchard picked up the silver medal with a total of 229 (79, 75, 75).

The only other women to shoot under par in any round was Sian Stevenson (Cambridge) who posted a 72 in her final effort. Stevenson finished 3rd overall on 233 (81, 80, 72).  Still chasing the elusive Mid-Am title, Vaha Fapiano (North Shore) 4th (79, 78 78) with a total of 235 and Jenny Peters (Northland) 6 shots back on 241 (85, 75, 81).

The women’s net winner was Harriet Dewes who was well below her handicap with net rounds of 62, 68 and 71, 2nd place awarded to Glenda Swan from Royal Wellington.

The consolation stableford prizes were awarded to Shandon members Yuriko Manabe, the 2021 winner, with Judy Simpson the runner-up.