Golf: Chadwick drives to next level at Open

By Anendra Singh

Like a golfer using her hands in blinkers fashion to read an uphill lie, Kate Chadwick finds herself on the lush part of the prime real estate of amateur-dom after successfully negotiating her way through the hazards and roughs.

Having ploughed through the fairway of not just golf but the process of teeing her life up for adulthood, the 20-year-old finds herself at the cusp of professionalism, albeit momentarily to see where the sport sits in the ambit of everyday grind.

Chadwick has booked herself a berth in the New Zealand Open Women's tournament in Christchurch early next month.

The Hawke's Bay-Poverty Bay No1 player will be rubbing shoulders with a bevy of professionals at the Clearwater Golf Course from February 8-10 by virtue of winning the New Zealand Maori Matchplay title in Taupo a fortnight ago.

"It's quite cool because it's not an opportunity everyone gets so I'll take it and try to play my game," she said last night soon after returning from the Hawke's Bay Hospital where she started her first day as a nurse following her tertiary education at the Eastern Institute of Technology.

So what is her game?

"I just want to go out there and focus on chipping and putting and not getting caught up in the moment of trying to outplay everyone else," Chadwick said, echoing the sentiments of her father, Fred Chadwick, mindful there could also be the glare of TV cameras. While she is at loss as to who will be in her group to tee off at the country's premier women's professional tournament, Chadwick is itching to find out.

"I really want to know because it's quite exciting," the Napier Golf Club member said.

With studies her priority in the past three years, Chadwick had shelved any childhood dreams about becoming a professional in the cutthroat world of golf.

Needless to say, the experience at Clearwater will tingle her tastebuds but whether she will put her nursing career on the back burner to take a giant leap of faith into professionalism remains to be seen.

For now she's simply delighted that her job, coupled with daylight saving, enables her to put in some serious time into training for the Open.

"I'll see how I go putting some time in golf because I've not been practising much and just going out and hitting the ball," Chadwick said.

"Where do we go from here?"

Arch rival Te Rongopai Clay, of Wellington, beat her in the strokeplay of the the 76th New Zealand Golf Maori National Championship at Taupo Golf Club but Chadwick bounced back at the Centennial course to beat the Titahi Bay Club member 2 and 1 in the matchplay segment.

Unaware it was the matchplay winner who claims the wildcard entry to the New Zealand Open, Chadwick was dumbfounded when a Te Karere TV interviewer pointed it out to her with the camera rolling.

"I didn't even know so I was left in a bit of a spot," Chadwick said.

It's her third NZ Maori title in four years, having lost it in the second year.

While it was overwhelming to be in the orientation week of employment at the hospital, Chadwick was taking it in her stride.

"We're having lectures on what to expected from us but paid work is just fabulous," she said, hanging out for her first roster to fit her golf training schedule around it.

At the weekend, a big-hitting Chadwick successfully defended her Sacred Hill-sponsored Maraenui Golf Club's Women's Open Tournament after beating veteran Kathy Olsen 6 and 5 in the final.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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