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2023 Canterbury Match Play Preview

Posted by: on 1 March 2023

The 2023 Canterbury Match Play will be played this coming weekend at the Waitikiri Golf Club with several division titles up for grabs.

In the men’s field, there is again a strong contingent of players with the likes of Sam McGill (+4.0, Clearwater), Cooper Moore (+3.8, Clearwater), and Dominic Brettkelly (+2.9, Clearwater) all of who recently played in Monday’s NZ Open qualifying event in Cromwell and will all be vying for the Men’s Open title. McGill who came agonisingly close to securing a spot in the NZ Open following a 5 under round (eventually missing out in the play-off) will be looking to bounce back from that disappointment and bring that good form into the weekend. Moore is this year making his step up to the Men’s Open division looking to capture the senior crown for the first time while recent Canterbury Stroke Play Champion Brettkelly will no doubt be a force. Other players of note include last year's finalist Reid Hilton (+1.9, Russley) and defending Champion Tom Lee (+2.3, Christchurch) who has made the move north from Otago this season and will be looking to defend his title. The singular out-of-town prospect is the highly-rated Robby Turnbull (+4.0, Remuera) who will be looking to make his visit south a productive one. The Men’s field also features several of Canterbury’s younger players who while eligible for the U19 division have chosen to test themselves in the open division after qualifying via the Canterbury Stroke Play in February.

In the Women’s Open field, there are a couple of out of two players who will be looking to make their mark. Chloe So (+0.5, Pakuranga) will return to Christchurch having last month taken out the Canterbury Stroke Play, and will be looking to do the double as she enters the Match Play as one of the event favourites. One of her tests will be Aroha Minhinnick (0.0, Rarangi) who will make the trip from Marlborough and looking to go a couple better this year after bowing out in the quarter-finals last year. Perhaps Canterbury’s top hopes sit with youngster Alisia Ren (0.1, Russley) who will be looking to play in the latter rounds of the event this weekend as well as Canterbury’s Catherine Bell (0.6, Christchurch) who has returned to the Match Play in what is a strong format for her. There are several other young talents in the field with Canterbury TDP players Vanessa Lim, Lexi Thomson Hall, and Zaria Bourne all looking to gain experience and test themselves against their peers.

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In the U19 Men’s category, it should be an interesting contest with several players normally strong in this division testing themselves in the Open category presenting opportunities for others to seize the title. Tasman-based Caleb Minson (1.3, Nelson) will be looking to give a strong effort but will have the likes of Max Edwards (2.3, Hororata) and Marshall Johnston (2.9, Clearwater) to contend with. The entire division contains players who are very familiar with each other and of similar handicaps, so the initial qualifying round in this one may be key for who ends up as the respective seeds for the match play rounds to follow.

The Men’s Masters division contains mostly local-based players with just one Tasman-based contender in the form of Nathan Moore (+0.6, Motueka) who will be looking to make a big run. Local hopes contain the likes of James Howard (+0.3, Coringa), Woo Bong Kim (+0.1, Waitikiri), and Simon Marshall (1.9, Waitikiri), the latter two of which will have a home course advantage on their side which should place them in good stead. Ian MacDonald (1.3, Christchurch) will also be looking to make a claim in the division which also contains a few experienced challengers with the likes of Paul Fitzsimmons, Kieran Sharvin, Michael Bailey, and John Rademakers all sure to push their respective opponents.

Finally, the Men’s Senior division (55+) contains just a smaller size field this year with defending Champion Marty Holman looking to continue his good form in the event. The likes of Lin Wang and David Storey will be looking to stop his run of victories in the division.

Saturday morning tee off’s will see the Masters, U19, and Senior Men all commence their initial qualifying round to determine their respective seedings for the match play rounds to follow. Meanwhile, the Open Men’s and Women’s categories will launch straight into their first round of 16 matches as the elimination rounds start from the outset. 

See the full draw - HERE.

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