The 2017 Lamb & Hayward Canterbury Strokeplay is being held this weekend at Templeton Golf Club with a record 120 entries being ballotted down to make up a capacity field of 96 players.
The field is strengthened this year with the additional of players from Otago, Southland and Tasman. Previously clashing, the Otago Strokeplay is now the following weekend at Balmacewen. To incentivise both tournaments the Canterbury and Otago Associations have got together with the House of Travel to provide prizes for best scores across both tournaments. There is also NZ Golf and Canterbury Order of Merit points up for grabs at both tournaments.
The mens field is led by defending champion Nic Kay. There are 25 players on a scratch handicap or better, with the cut-off handicap for balloting being 4.5 index.
Players looking to make an impact and challenge for the title include Daniel Laughton (on his home course), Jake Hallinan, JJ Love, Tom Parker, Dominic Brettkelly, Matt McLean, Marcel Boet, Reid Hilton, 2017 Faldo Series Champion Oscar Cadenhead, and Canterbury Matchplay Champion Hiroki Miya.
The top ranked players from Southland are Scott Hellier and Jeremy Hall, from Otago Jonny Mackay, Ryan and Jacob Bellamy along with Andrew Drummond from Tasman. There is also a contingent of Korean players from the Pacific Golf Academy.
The women's field is missing Amelia Garvey and Hillary O'Connor who are competing in Argentina and Australia respectively. Last year's runner-up Juliana Hung leads the field and will be favourite for the Canterbury title along with her Canterbury team-mates Jasmine Rou and Olive Tapu. 10 year Jeong Hyun Lee on +0.2 index will add interest to proceedings. Otago Rep Annabel Evans has made the trip up from Balmacewen.
Blair Dibley (Harewood) will be looking for a three-peat when he defends his Men's Masters title won the last two years. His biggest threat is likely to be Otago Masters No.1 Andrew Hobbs. He will also be challenged by Canterbury team-mates James Robb and Aaron Forysth in a good field of 16 players.
Anne Dick is not able to defend the Women's Masters title, last years runner-up and Aorangi No.1 Ginny Bolderston will lead the field.
The action tees off at 8am on Saturday with 36 holes per day for the men, and the women's 54 hole event starting Saturday morning.
The Templeton course is in fine order with the green running fast and true, and the rough grown up over the last six months.