Zach May and Amy Weng came through some tough opposition to win their maiden titles at the 2021 Hazlett Insurance Canterbury Matchplay Championships held at Templeton Golf Club over the weekend.
For May it continued his steady rise through the amateur ranks to the top echelon of amateur golfers in New Zealand. Through the round of 16 and the quarter finals on Saturday May played steady golf beating Dan Laughton and Jake Roberts. The giant killer through these rounds was Kris O'Neill who beat No. 1 seed Matt McLean 2/1, then defending champion Mike Toeke 2up. His run was halted in the semis by Canterbury Rep Reid Hilton who beat him on the 18th 1up. Young Yuki Miya was also doing some giant killing of his own beating Queenstown's Jack Turner, and then No. 2 seed Josh Smith 1up. In the semi it took May's best golf to stop Miya eventually winning on the 18th, and set up the final againt Hilton. The final was a close affair early on. May was steady, while Hilton was mixing birdies and bogeys. May had a 1up lead after nine holes, and through the back nine Hilton's putter went cold giving May a 3up advantage that he took to the 16th where he ran out the champion 3/2.
Amy Weng also made another step up in her amateur achievements when she comprehensively beat No.1 seed Maddie May in the final. Weng had accounted for Jasmine Clancy and Tasman's Lizzie Neale on the way through, while May had a bye straight through to the semi-final where she beat Alisia Ren 9/7. May was favourite for the final but started poorly and never recovered. Weng was playing some excellent golf and always had the out-of-sorts May under pressure. After nine holes she was 2up, and contniue that form through to a 5/4 victory.
The Men's Masters Championship was the most hotly contested division of the weekend with 24 players vying for the top eight championship bracket in Saturday morning's 18 hole qualifying. Andrew Dufton qualified as No.1 seed and met some stern opposittion from veteran John Rademakers before winning the quarter-final on the 19th hole. In the semi he met his Canterbury team-mate Jason Sincock, and in a ding-dong battle succumbed to a spectacular 40 foot putt from off the green by Sincock to lose on the 18th. On the other side of the draw Paul Burke and Aaron Forsyth came through to the semi-final. Burke was in good form beating Canterbury Rep Jonathan Stieller 4/3, while Forsyth accounted for Walker Lin 2up. The semi was another close affair and the pair were still tied after 18 holes. On the 19th Forsyth unfortunately three putted giving victory to Burke. The final was a great watch. It saw the vastly experienced Sincock against up-and-comer Burke. Sincock's experience in big matches stood out through most of the match. He was 1up after nine holes and had a 3up lead through hole 14. Burke had played some great golf to get to the final and showed enough self belief to hang in and try to find form. This came on the 16th when he was dormie 3 down. He birdied here to Sincock's par, then won 17 and 18 with pars as the rain swept in. All three holes required putts of 8-10 feet to keep the match going and Burke duly obliged. On the first extra hole Burke hooked his tee shot out near the 7th fairway but managed to get his approach around the pines and onto the first green 25 feet away from the hole. Sincock had leaked his tee shot into a fairway bunker and got out well but just off the front of the green some 40 feet away from the back pin. Sincock putted up to 5 feet while Burke nearly holed his birdie attempt. It was unforuntae that Sincock missed his par putt and Paul Burke became the toast of his home club Templeton with the win, and putting incumbent Canterbury Masters Reps on notice for future teams.
In the Women's Master's Championship Christchurch's Nicola Webb came through to beat an in-form Rachel Eder 3/2 in the final. Webb beat Jo Carolan in the quarter-final 2/1 and then had a great battle against Waitikiri Green Keeper Naomi Wallace eventually winning on the 20th hole. Meanwhile Eder had played some great golf to beat Di Kay 5/3, and Aorangi's Catherine Knight 5/4. In the final the pair traded blows and were still all square after nine holes. Eder missed some opportunities on the back nine while Webb remained steady to build a lead and win on the 16th hole.
The Boys U19 Championship was keenly contested. Mika MacDonald qualified as No.1 seed, and beat Edward Dickinson before meeting Cooper Moore in the semil-final. Phong Nguyen had qualified second seed and made his way to the final beating Tim Graham 3/1, then Max Edwards 3/2. The semi-final between Mika and Cooper was a keenly watched affair by parents and club members. Mika had a significant distance advantage off the tee but Cooper was the steadier of the two players. It was a great battle with the match being all square after nine holes and still all square playing the 18th. Cooper missed the green with his approach but chipped to four feet and holed the putt. Mika had made it to the front of the green and putted up to the back pin nicely from 40+ feet. It was unfortunate that he missed the shortish putt to give Cooper the win. In the final Phong sank some great putts and played well to win 3/2 over Cooper who looked like he had run out of gas after the semi battle - his driving and putting wasn't up to his high standards. The match was played in great spirits and it was heartening to see the way our promising players conducted themselves despite the trials and tribulations that golf brings with it.
In the Men's Seniors Championship Marty Holman came through to win his third title. Ellesmere's Paul Bailey had qualified as No.1 seed and was expected to advance through to the final. He was was halted in the semi by some great play by Lin Wang who birdied holes 9, 10, and 11 to put away Bailey and win 5/4. Meanwhile Holman, as steady as ever, had beaten Steve Collier 8/7, and PJ Yim 3/2 to make his way to the final against Wang. Lin continued his great form and had a 2up lead after nine holes. However Holman hung in and the pair battled it out to take the match to the 18th all square. A missed putt and it was all over with Holman regaining the trophy he had kindly donated years earlier.
The other three divisions were keen'y contested with some close matches. In Men's Div 2 Jin Sung Kim came through to beat Derrick Xu 3/2 in the final. Kim was 5up on the turn, and despite getting the speed wobbles closed out the match on the 16th. Men's Masters Div 2 saw Avondale GM Richard Sincalir come through beating Kieran Sharvin 2/1 in the final. Many matches in this division went to the 18th incdluing Sharvin's semi-final against Ian MacDonald that went to the 20th hole. Men's Masters Div 3 saw Simon Edwards beat Brent Mackey on the 18th 1up. There were again some close matches with Edwards beating Steve Williams 1up in one semi, and Mackey beating Alisdair Reid on the first extra hole in the other semi.
Thanks must go to Templeton Golf Club - their staff and members. Vacating the course for the weekend with a large club membership is never easy and is much appreciated. Hazlett Insurance came on board to sponsor the event and their support is much appreciated not only for the tournament but also junior golf development in Canterbury.
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