Golf: Chisnall to take on Neho at NZ Amateur

On a day of upsets at the New Zealand Amateur Championship the last men standing were struggling to get their heads around making the final at the Manawatu Golf Club.

Tasman's Ryan Chisnall defeated Auckland's Tae Koh 2 and 1 and Northland's Kadin Neho held off Waikato's Steven Kuggeleijn 2up to set up an unlikely championship final tomorrow.

The quarter-finals provided plenty of drama, with defending champion Vaughan McCall and New Zealand Stroke Play winner Cameron Jones bundled out in windy conditions.

With the bigger names having departed, the semifinal contests were intriguing as the chance was there for all four players to make their first national final.

Chisnall, 18, was stoked to defeat well performed Aucklander Koh and said making the final ``doesn't even feel real yet''.

``I already had a bus ticket home for tomorrow afternoon so I had no thought that I would make it this far,'' he said. ``I have always been a solid match play golfer at the Toro [Interprovincial tournament]. I don't really know how I do it but I try not to make too many mistakes.''

Hoping for a few rare mistakes from Chisnall tomorrow will be Neho, who beat No 1 seed Luke Toomey in round two and was still dazed after his semifinal win.

``I am in a bit of a state of shock really,'' said the 17-year-old. ``It has been a really special week for me here and I have managed to get through this far. I don't really know how.''

Meanwhile, in the women's field, Wellington No 1 Julianne Alvarez delivered in the clutch to knock out defending champion Munchin Keh on the 18th hole.

In doing so, Alvarez qualified for her first NZ Amateur final where she will meet Waikato No 1 Hanna Seifert, who easily accounted for Chantelle Cassidy winning by 6 and 5.

With the match all square until the 17th hole, Alvarez produced a coming-of-age performance to secure a shot at the biggest title in her young career.

``It feels great to make a New Zealand Amateur final,'' said the 16-year-old. ``I have worked really hard coming into this tournament and it is nice to see it pay off.''

Also feeling in fine form was Waikato golfer Seifert. The leading amateur at the recent Taranaki Energy Open was buzzing following her emphatic win over Cassidy.

``It is pretty exciting,'' she said. ``I came out of the blocks absolutely firing and made lots of birdies and then an eagle on seven which always helps.''

Seifert hopes she can replicate the feats of her great grandfather, who won the club championship at the Manawatu Golf Club 100 years ago.

``It would be awesome to win here and keep the family history in the club, and honour them and all their names and achievements. I have Dad on the bag this week, so it is pretty special knowing that his Dad and Granddad have walked the same fairways that we are.''

The women's final will begin at 8:00am tomorrow with the men's final to follow at 8:15am.

- APNZ

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