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2024 Canterbury Stroke Play Championship – Overview

Posted by: on 5 February 2024

Another exciting edition of Canterbury’s premier golf action concluded yesterday as the 2024 Canterbury Stroke Play lived up to expectations. Playing at Christchurch Golf Club the players and spectators were treated to immaculate course conditions showcasing arguably one of the best courses in the region.

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Saturday morning delivered some unusually cold February conditions, but the golf action was anything but cold with some extremely hot scoring displayed in round 1 with players looking to set a high standard from the outset as they chased the respective titles. Clearwater’s Sam McGill recorded the best round with an incredible 7 under round of 65 to top the Men’s Open division. Another remarkable round was also produced by Coringa’s Drew Butcher who carded a 6 under round of 66 to sit in second place. He was followed by Otago’s Ricky Kang and Auckland’s Robbie Turnbull with rounds of 68 as part of 17 men’s players overall that shot under par in the cool but still morning conditions. This also included 4 men’s masters players with Bottle Lake’s Kieran Sharvin who shot an impressive 3 under par 69 with Rich Sinclair (70), Jonny Stieller (71), and John Rademakers (71) all also breaking par to top the Master’s division through round 1.

In the Women’s Open, it was the Auckland pairing and top seeds Chloe Lam and Juwon Kim who set the early pace each recording 3 under rounds of 71. Russley and Canterbury representative Alisia Ren also managed to match the course with a par round of 74 with Angeline Loh (75), Aroha Minhinnick (76), and Yoonae Jeong (78) all within touching distance of the leaders. In the Women’s Masters, Rachel Eder took the lead with her round of 83 to have a 5-shot lead over Rangiora’s Jo Kent.

The afternoon however brought some different and far more challenging conditions as the wind picked up and dark black/purple clouds surrounded the north of the course. The feeling around the tournament was that any score close to par in the afternoon would be a good effort and set players up nicely in the Championship event. This proved to be the case with just one player in Reid Hilton breaking par with his round of 71 to bring him into a tie for 5th. Ricky Kang, Cooper Moore, Mike Toeke, and Ben Patston were all also able to record par rounds of 72 to keep themselves in contention. 2nd place Drew Butcher was unable to match his morning performance and dropped down the table, but Sam McGill was able to hang tough with a 2 over round to keep him on top of the Men’s leaderboard with a one-shot lead at 5 under from Ricky Kang who was 4 under and Robbie Turnbull and Kieran Sharvin who sat two shots further back at -2.  

As mentioned, Sharvin was able to back up in his morning performance to record a 1-over round to stay 2 under par and extend his lead in the Masters division from one shot to 6 with no other Masters player able to match his round. John Rademakers managed a 5 over 77 to cap off his solid day and leave him in second place while Christchurch’s Alisdair Reid matched his morning round of 76 to sit in 3rd alongside Tyrone Nelson (Greenacres) and Leith Campion (Gore) who all sat at 8 over for the tournament through 2 rounds.

In the ladies’ division, round 2 scoring was much harder across the board. The best rounds of the afternoon were recorded by Rangiora’s Sora Kishida and Yoonae Jeong who both shot 78 which lifted them to 7th and 5th respectively on the leaderboard. Leaders Lam and Kim both shot 80 to leave them +3 for the tournament but still top of the leaderboard. Three shots further back were Angeline Loh from Titirangi who shot a round of 79 to leave herself in 3rd place with Waimairi Beach’s Aroha Minhinnick sitting in 4th place following her round of 79. In the Women’s Masters division, Eder kept her 5-shot lead following her round of 94 with all the ladies recording rounds in the 90’s as they battled the tough afternoon conditions. Lynn Brand (Harewood) recorded their best score with her 90.

So, onto day 2 the tournament went and the final round with the Men’s division leaving many players in contention with 8 players within 5 shots of leader Sam McGill. In the Women’s division, there were also many players still left in contention, Lam and Kim both holding 3 shot lead over the chasing pack which consisted of 4 players within 5 shots. In the Master's divisions, Kieran Sharvin appeared in control with his 6-shot lead as did Eder with her 5-shot lead both players looking to finish the job.

A very hot day presented itself in stark contrast to the afternoon prior, presenting a different challenge to the players, and as expected the players came out fighting for the titles. In the Men’s Open things were very tight throughout the entire day with overnight leader McGill staying around par through the first few holes but then making a few bogeys before the turn to sit at 3 over for his round and 2 under for the tournament. Those bogies combined with Robby Turnbull birdying the 9th to sit at 1 under for his round resulted in a leader change as he moved to 3 under for the tournament. Reefton’s Mike Toeke and Clearwater’s Cooper Moore also kept up the pressure as they stayed at 1under and even respectively for their rounds through 9 holes to sit 2 shots back of Turnbull. The final 9 holes then would determine the 2024 Stoke Play Men’s Champion with 17-year-old Turnbull looking to hold off McGill and any possible late charge of Toeke and Moore, however Turnbull was up to the task extending his lead to two shots as he stepped up to the 18th tee. Making par he claimed the title with a 2 under round eventuating in a 4 under tournament score. Toeke and Moore finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively as they finished at 2 under with McGill dropping back to 4th with a bogey on 18 to finish at 1 under par for the event.

Pictured below: Men's Final group (left to right- Robbie Turnbull, Reid Hilton and Ricky Kang.)

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In Men’s masters division Sharvin went wire-to-wire in convincing fashion. With his 6-shot lead, the pressure was on chaser Rademakers who was the closest player to Irishman Sharvin, also in the final group was Reid and Nelson a further 4 shots back who would have needed a lot to go their way to claim the title. As it played out, Sharvin maintained his composure and at one stage was within 2 shots of leader Turnbull for the overall Men’s title, but with a couple of bogeys on the back nine he finished with a 4 over round of 76 to finish at +2 for the event and claim the trophy for the first time. In a late charge, Gore’s Leith Campion had the best round of the division with his par 72 round to move from 6th overnight to an eventual 2nd place finish at +8 for the tournament. Rademakers who was solid throughout rounded out the Men’s Masters podium with his final round 79 to finish at +11 for the event, one ahead of defending champion Andrew Hobbs at +12.

Pictured below: Men's Masters Champion Kieran Sharvin.

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In the women’s event, it was a relatively straightforward finish with the chasing pack unable to make any huge gains as the third and final round played out, leaving Lam and Kim to battle it out for the title. The scoring was largely very even between the pair through the earlier holes with both players slightly above par however through 9 holes Lam was able to establish a 2-shot lead as she turned at 4 over for the tournament and Kim back at 6 over. As it turned out that 2-shot lead remained through the final 9 holes with Lam who eventually finished with a round of 77 taking the title with Kim just two shots back with her round of 79. Further down, the biggest leaderboard movement however came from Canterbury youngsters Alisia Ren and Sora Kishida. Ren recorded a division-best round of 76 to move from 5th place overnight into third 3rd place while Kishida with her round of 78 moved from 7th to 4th. Much of this movement was a result of both Loh (3rd overnight) and Minhinnick (4th overnight) shooting rounds of 81 and 80 respectively.

Pictured below: Women's Champion Chloe Lam

Chloe Lam

Finally, in the Women’s master’s division, Eder was able to maintain who comfortable lead to claim the title winning by 12 shots. Having led by 5 going into the day Eder shot 86 which with all of her fellow division players shooting 93 widen the margin of victory. All of the other players were very close together with Lynn Brand and Belinda Richards finishing at +53 and Kent just one shot further back. Brand took out 2nd on countback and also claimed the Masters Net prize.

Pictured below: Women's masters Champion: Rachel Eder.

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 In summary a hugely successful two days with some impressive golf on display. A big thank you again to the Christchurch Golf Club and their staff for hosting us and to the volunteers (starters and referees) for giving their time and contributing to a great event.

The full results can be viewed - HERE.

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 To watch the Final Day Highlights Video click - HERE

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