Golf: Cane anxious to wipe out memories of playoff pain

Jonathan Cane missed a championship putt against Luke Toomey last year.
Jonathan Cane missed a championship putt against Luke Toomey last year.

Wellington's Jonathan Cane will be looking to go one better in the New Zealand Stroke Play Championships starting at Hastings Golf Club tomorrow.

Cane lost a playoff to Luke Toomey last year after the Waikato No1 came from eight shots back due to Cane's uncharacteristic final round of 76.

Toomey has turned professional so a new champion will be crowned in the men's field this year, while in the women's tournament they will once again be chasing down one of the country's leading amateurs, Chantelle Cassidy.

"It was a tough way to finish last year, but I have learnt from that and can't wait to give it another crack this week," said Cane.

Cane has been brilliant since his loss in the playoff after guiding his young Wellington Interprovincial side to glory late last year with a near-perfect record for the week.

"To win that is far better than any individual prize, but this would certainly add to what has been a good few months for me."

Another Wellingtonian who will be hoping to add his name to the history books is the now experienced amateur Daniel Hillier. Hillier is the holder of the Te Mana A Toi Trophy for the low-round of the tournament (65) which helped him come close to the title at the Christchurch Golf Club last year. He too recorded a tough final round of 76, alongside Cane, to fall out of contention.

Redemption will be on his mind as he looks to engrave his name into yet another piece of New Zealand Golf silverware.

"It was a disappointing final round last year and I am certainly coming back to bury those demons," said Hillier. "This is one trophy I am dying to get my name on, so hopefully I can put four good rounds together and get over the line in Hastings."

Adding to the mix are names such as New Zealand representative Nick Coxon, Henry Spring, Shaun Campbell and the new South Island strokeplay champion, Mark Hutson, who won in very dominant fashion earlier this month.

Cassidy returns to the event in search for back-to-back glory and to put her name on the Mellsop Cup for the third time.

However, as per usual the women's field provides a mouth-watering contest with the rise of many young golfers looking to challenge Cassidy's command of the field.

Headlining the chasing pack are the three players who were recently selected in the Queen Sirikit Cup team with Alanna Campbell, Amelia Garvey and Rose Zheng ready to rumble in Hastings.

Zheng is in line to join a very select club by winning both the New Zealand Amateur Match Play and the Stroke Play Championships in the same year if she continues her sensational form.

For the men, these prestigious amateur events take on a new intensity this year with the knowledge that the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship will be hosted in New Zealand this October.

Royal Wellington Golf Club is to host this top event and the host country is rewarded with 10 spots in the field instead of the usual six.

Players will be wanting to improve their amateur rankings to compete for the best prize of all - playing in both The Masters and The Open Championship in 2018.

- NZ Herald

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