Golf: Bay golfers strong in national junior teams

By Peter White

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Omanu's Alanna Campbell is one of five Bay of Plenty golfers named in New Zealand junior teams. Photo/George Novak
Omanu's Alanna Campbell is one of five Bay of Plenty golfers named in New Zealand junior teams. Photo/George Novak

Bay of Plenty's domination of amateur golf in recent years is reflected in the New Zealand teams named to compete at the Australian Junior Amateur Championships next month in Melbourne.

Bailey Smith (Mt Maunganui), Tyler King (Omokoroa) and Charlie Hillier (Te Puke) join Nick Coxon (Riverside) in the junior boys team, while Alanna Campbell (Omanu) and Tyla Kingi (Opotiki) were named with Celyn Khoo (Pakuranga) and Brydie Hodge (Levin) in the girls team.

Former Bay coach and Tauranga Golf Club professional Jay Carter will manage the boys team.

The selections come as no surprise to anyone who follows the amateur golf scene, particularly after a meritorious summer for Bay golfers.

Smith and Campbell enjoyed success across the Tasman in January, claiming the South Australia Junior Championship and the Victorian Junior Masters respectively to begin the year.

A week later Hillier celebrated his 17th birthday in style by winning the prestigious North Island Under-19 Championship at the Hamilton Golf Club, while Kingi was a clear winner of the Ladies National Maori Golf Matchplay title.

Hillier is looking forward to making his New Zealand debut in Melbourne.

"It is a good start to my representative career. I knew I was in the running but it is always a bonus to know you are good enough to play and wear that [New Zealand] shirt," Hillier said.

"Golf in the Bay is strong and getting stronger I suppose. It definitely looks good for the [interprovincials]."

The Australian Boys' Amateur Championship will be staged at the Heritage Golf and Country Club in Victoria from April 9-11 and the Girls Championship will be held on the same dates at the Croydon Golf Club (Yering Meadows).

Both championships are open to players aged under-18 years on the first day of play.

The first Australian Boys' Amateur Championship was played in 1982 over 54-holes stroke play for players under 21. Past winners include Adam Scott, Jason Day, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby.

While the Australian Girls' Amateur Championship was first played in conjunction with the Australian Women's Amateur Championship qualifying rounds in 1953 at Royal Perth Golf Club. It was won by Margaret Masters who claimed victory over 36 holes.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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