Golf: Bay players look good for tourney

By Peter White


Bay of Plenty golfers Grace Senior, Alanna Campbell, Peter Lee, Bradley Kendall, Charlie Hillier, Bailey Smith, Hayden Beard, Chris Charlton, Hayden Smith and Landyn Edwards are part of a high class field at the North Island Stroke Play championships starting today at the Poverty Bay Golf Club in Gisborne.

Bay of Plenty golf coach Jay Carter says there are several local golfers in with a chance over the next few days.

He pointed to Peter Lee winning the Rotorua Open with 16 under while Hayden Beard was runner-up as well as third at Paraparaumu in the New Zealand Strokeplay champs.

"In the women's, Grace Senior is worth a look and Alanna Campbell is doing great and seems to be getting better every day."

Last week's New Zealand Stroke Play champions Cameron Jones from Muriwai and Tokoroa's Chantelle Cassidy are favoured to take the titles.

Jones produced the best back nine of his life - a six under par 30 at Paraparaumu Beach - to win his first national title.

The 19-year-old headlines the field at the Poverty Bay Golf Club alongside NZSP runner-up Nick Voke, as he looks to build on what he achieved on the Kapiti Coast.

The former winner of the Michael Campbell Foundation Scholarship said it was a special feeling to win after finishing runner-up so many times.

"It was awesome to finally win a big event and the way that I did it was really cool," said Jones following his win. "I want to carry on playing like this in the next few events and get into contention for another one."

Jones will also play the Taranaki Energy Open on the Charles Tour and then the New Zealand Amateur at the Manawatu Golf Club.

In the women's competition, 11 of the top 20 Order of Merit are playing, with Cassidy also looking to back up her win. The challenge is expected to come from well performed Auckland golfer Brittney Dryland and Waikato No 1 Sarah Bradley.

There will be a new winner of both championships in 2013 as last year's winners Daniel Pearce and Emily Perry have both since turned professional. Interestingly, the last player to win this event, that didn't go on to turn professional, was Chris Johns in 1999.

The North Island Stroke Play title has been won by many of New Zealand's best golfers over the years since it began in 1938.

Past champions of the men's trophy include Bob Glading, Stuart Jones, Ross Newdick, Marcus Wheelhouse, Mark Brown, Tim Wilkinson, Bradley Iles, Josh Geary and Danny Lee.

The women's championship has only been running since 2008 and in that time World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko won it three consecutive years, from 2009 to 2011.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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