All star field will go low

By Gary Caffell


Golf

Predicting the winner of the 2013 DHL Global Forwarding and Recreational Services Masterton-Eketahuna pro-am golf tournament this weekend is a hazardous business.

The tourney is the first of the pro-ams on the 2013 NZPGA calendar and therefore it is difficult to get a line on the form of the 35 well-credentialled professionals chasing $15,000 in prize money, plus a $1500 travel voucher.

What can be confidently predicted, however, is that some low scoring will eventuate, both tomorrow at Eketahuna and on Sunday at Masterton, with both courses being in excellent shape for the big event.

Last year it was Grant Moorhead of New Plymouth who led the professionals home after rounds of 63 and 64 and it would be no surprise to see this former member of the New Zealand amateur team which lifted the Eisenhower Trophy in 1992 among the front-runners again.

Moorhead is not by any means the only professional in this weekend's field who has tasted success in the Masterton Eketahuna pro-am. Other previous winners shooting for gold are Joshua Carmichael, Douglas Holloway, Richard Lee and Marcus Whitehouse, and victory for any of them would hardly fall into the surprise category either.

A brief resume of the professional line-up is:

Dominic Barson: Winner of $20,000 Fairview pro-am last December.

Joshua Carmichael: Joint winner of this event in 2011.

Tony Christie: Prolific pro-am winner returning after a four-year break. Director of golf at Laucala resort in Fiji.

Jonathan Dittmer: Graduate from 2012 qualifying school.

Craig Hamilton: Graduate from 2013 qualifying school.

Andrew Henare: Qualified for full PGA membership as top trainee in consecutive years, 2009-10.

Shaun Hewitt: Host professional.

Scott Hill: Ninth on 2012 Order of Merit, winner of Charles Tour Harewood Open last year.

Douglas Holloway: Joint winner of this event in 2011.

Leighton James: Seventh on 2012 Order of Merit and winner of Cambridge pro-am last year.

Riki Kauikia: Graduate from 2013 qualifying school.

Richard Lee: Winner of this event in 2009.

Bryce Mawhinney: Full vocational member of PGA who has been coaching in China.

Grant Moorhead: Defending champion of this title and one of the famous 1992 Eisenhower Trophy winning New Zealand amateur team.

Leonard Morgan: Graduate from 2013 qualifying school.

Kieran Muir: Medallist from 2012 PGA qualifying school.

Daniel Pearce: Medallist from 2013 PGA qualifying school.

Jared Pender: Fifth on 2012 Order of Merit.

Paul Powell: PGA of Australia senior member, ex-Palmerston North.

Mark Purser: Eleventh on 2012 Order of Merit and winner of Omaha Ascension Wines $22,500 pro-am last year.

Geoff Smart: PGA president, winner of 78 pro-ams over three decades.

Benjamin Taylor: Graduate from 2013 qualifying school.

Chris Treen: Senior graduate from 2013 qualifying school.

Marcus Wheelhouse: Winner of this event in 2007.

Fraser Wilton: Winner of Charles Tour Muriwai Open in 2012 as an amateur, second placing in 2013 qualifying school.

Other notable professionals in this weekend's field are Joonsang Chung, Blake Cowley, Andrew Gurney, James Hamilton, Patrick Moore, Luke Nobilo, Clarke Osborne, Dean Sipson and Alex Tait.

Guest celebrity this year is cricket great Sir Richard Hadlee, no mug golfer himself. He will play here off a projected 10.4 handicap.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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