Golf: Alanna a senior champ at 14

By Peter White


Alanna Campbell is causing quite a stir through the groomed fairways of Bay of Plenty's golf courses with her outstanding performances this year.

At just 14, the Year 9 Aquinas College student, who plays out of the Omanu Golf Club, has already achieved more than most golfers do in a lifetime.

But you get the impression with the talented teen that she has only just begun establishing herself as a future star of the sport.

She won the Omanu senior women's strokeplay title, played over three rounds, by two shots and will represent her club for the first time at the Champion of Champions to be played at Tauranga Golf Club on November 19.

Alanna was especially pleased to win the Omanu title and follow in the footsteps of her coach and mentor Mikaela Bell.

"I thought it was really good to win it because Mikaela won it when she was also 14. She is now a pro at Tauranga and has also played for New Zealand. I was pretty happy about that.

"I am also looking forward to the Champion of Champions for the experience and learning from other players. I am hoping to do well."

Alanna followed up her club champs win at Omanu with an outstanding performance representing Bay of Plenty at the NZ Eagles tournament in Nelson. Against 60 of the best young golfers in the country she cleaned up the competition to win the under-17 girls division after three quality rounds in two days, to emulate one of her heroes in Kiwi professional golf, Zoe Brake.

To put the icing on a rather successful October she then went to Rotorua with the Junior BOP Interprovincial team and won all her matches to be named Player of the Tournament.

All these achievements would stack up for any player with many years of competing at the top level.

But what is remarkable about Alanna, who plays off a 1-handicap with a best score of 70 at Omanu, is she did not take the game up seriously until 2010, when her handicap was 40.

By any stretch her improvement has been dramatic and for that Alanna credits her coach Bell with much of her development.

"It works well between us. Any time I can go see her and ask about something, and she gives me advice immediately.

"The key thing is I know it will be good advice which I can take away and practice hard with."

The inspirational Kiwi Lydia Ko, the world's top female amateur, is right at the top of Alanna's list of players she admires.

"I love watching her when she has played at the interprovincials. She is really inspiring. It gives me hope I can do it too because she is only 15. She can chip and putt so good but the main thing is her work ethic. It is just crazy how hard she works.

"I would also like to play for New Zealand and be a professional golfer, so I have to keep working."

So what's next for Alanna in 2012?

She has the national women's interprovincials at St Clair, Dunedin, from December 11-15 to prepare for and she has set a goal of winning all her matches.

On her form so far this year, it would be hard to back against her racking up more individual awards and helping Bay of Plenty to a team title win.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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