Jones and Choi NZ Amateur Champions

Jones and Choi win the 2019 New Zealand Amateur

Taranaki’s Sam Jones and Australia’s Doey Choi have won the 2019 New Zealand Amateur Championships at Remuera Golf Club.

Jones won the men’s 36-hole final 4&3 after trailing 17-year-old Mitchell Kale much of the day. He was on the back foot early as Kale eagled the opening hole to go 1 up, and then hit the shot of the tournament on the third hole, holing his tee shot on the 170-metre par 3 to put some distance in between himself and Jones after the opening stanza of play.

Jones managed to stay in touch with the young Bay of Plenty golfer and won the final two holes of the morning round to be 1 down going into lunch.

He’d come out firing in the afternoon round, making an eagle of his own at the first to square the match up with 17 holes to play. The pair would continue to trade blows, but Jones would go into the final nine holes of the tournament with a one-hole advantage.

The Taranaki golfer continued to put the pedal down, winning the 28th, 31st, and 33rd holes to claim the biggest victory of his young career.

“It feels pretty awesome now. I think it’s going to take a while to sink in to be honest, I’m absolutely thrilled,” says a thrilled Jones.

He says he was riding on a lot of confidence, given the way he got to the final.

“I felt really good. I was obviously coming off that playoff win yesterday afternoon and I was feeling really comfortable with my game today. I didn’t hit it very well this morning but I managed to sneak a couple of holes late on 17 and 18 to just be 1 down at lunch where I could’ve easily been four or five.

“I started hitting some good shots this afternoon and started hitting some good shots which calmed me down. Thankfully it was enough,” Jones says.

The Taranaki golfer is wrapped to be able to bring the trophy back to his home course at Manaia.

“This means a lot for me and my family. Dad booked a flight yesterday afternoon, so he was coming up regardless if I got through to the final or not and thankfully I did. My mum and her partner drove up early this morning which is awesome.”

“I come from a really small club back home and they give me plenty of support so it’s nice to get this done for them.”

Meanwhile in the women’s side of the event, Doey Choi had to get the job done in a much harder fashion.

36-holes wasn’t enough to separate Choi and her opponent Caryn Khoo, as they were all tied up after regular play.

They needed two extra holes for a winner to be decided, and par was good enough for Choi to claim the one of the biggest wins of her career thus far.

“This feels really good.”

“This is probably one of my biggest victories. I’m really happy to get this one over the line,” says a smiling Choi.

Like Jones, she was down for most of the day with the biggest deficit being three with just nine holes to play.

She won the 28th, 29th, and 30th holes to square the match up. It came right to the wire with Choi binning a monster 30-foot putt for birdie to put enormous pressure on Khoo, who was sitting on her own eight-foot birdie putt.

Khoo calmly rolled in her putt on top of Choi to extend the match and keep her hopes of claiming the New Zealand Amateur alive.

The pair would make pars up the first playoff hole. Khoo then proceeded to find the greenside bunker with her approach whilst Choi found the putting surface to apply the pressure back on Khoo.

Two putts were enough for Choi to win as Khoo made bogey.

“This one is big for my family and friends back home. I could feel the crowd cheering on Caryn as she was the last Kiwi girl standing. I just tried to block it out and play my own game.

“I was up early but Caryn won a few holes after that and I was down for the rest of the day. I fought back really hard on the last to claw my way back into the match which I was able to.

“I haven’t been hitting it that well the whole week, but I scrambled really well so I’m over the moon with the result,” says Choi.

She’s taking the New Zealand Amateur back to Australia for the first time in 19-years.

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Finals Results:

Jones def. Kale - 4/3

Choi def. Khoo - 38th