Golf: Toomey, Cassidy crowned amateur stroke play champions

Luke Toomey wins the NZ Amateur Stroke Play Championships. Photo / Simon Watts
Luke Toomey wins the NZ Amateur Stroke Play Championships. Photo / Simon Watts

Waikato's dynamic duo of Luke Toomey and Chantelle Cassidy have won the 2016 New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play Championships, both for the second time in their young careers.

In a dramatic two hole playoff Toomey stole the championship from under Jono Cane's nose to hold aloft the St Andrews Salver once again.

Not only was he surprised to be there, Toomey was emotional and proud of his final day efforts.

"I guess I'm just feeling incredibly blessed, someone was looking down on me today. My thoughts were with a close friend who recently passed and he obviously made some things happen for me out there. Surprised, yes, but incredibly happy as well."

"I guess it's special because I have ever closed out a victory from so far behind. So knowing I had to finish strong, and doing just that was gratifying."

Toomey was sitting comfortably in the clubhouse not expecting to dust off the clubs again until Jono Cane couldn't quite seal the deal.

Cane pulled chicken stick (3 iron) on the 18th tee only to find the trees and make bogey, which forced the playoff.

The first playoff hole saw both players missing very good birdie opportunities in front of a packed clubhouse to force it to a second round.

Returning to the 18th tee, Toomey had some frustration to get rid of and ripped his drive to the front of the green to have a chance for eagle.

A beautiful lag putt made things easy for Toomey with Cane sliding his birdie putt passed the right edge to give Toomey the honors at Christchurch Golf Club.

"I knew if I could wing my way into a playoff I would have a slight advantage momentum wise, and having won this two years ago, I felt pretty confident and also a little lucky to be there.

So the nerves weren't too bad."

Toomey is putting together an impressive resume and this only adds to punters questions of 'when is he turning pro.'

"I have a few things to tick off before I turn pro, including winning a Jennian Homes Charles Tour event, so there is no rush on that front."

Chantelle Cassidy is now a multiple winner of the Amateur Stroke Play Championship after remaining calm under the pressure on the final day.

It has been three years since her 2013 victory but it wasn't without a challenge as she won her second tournament in as many weeks.

"It feels really good to win it here at Christchurch Golf Club and win the battle against the Australian today," said Cassidy.

"The nerves weren't too bad, I knew I had a two shot lead coming down 18 and then hit a whopping drive down the middle, so took the two putt to win, so it was great!"

After searching for her name on the trophy, it was hard not to notice a one Lydia Ko has featured on the cup and Cassidy's aspirations to continue her career and hopefully compete with Ko.

"I was there in the final group when Lydia won the event and it would be awesome if I follow in her footsteps," grinned Cassidy.

It's a win for Waikato and a win for Christchurch Golf Club who haven't hosted a tournament here in 15 years. The course was in magnificent condition and just by looking at the leaderboard, it certainly challenged the countries best young golfers.

- NZ Herald

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