Courtesy of NZ Golf:
The 2019 New Zealand Stroke Play Championship tees off tomorrow with Canterbury’s very own Kazuma Kobori headlining an impressive field at the Christchurch Golf Club.
After much consideration and consultation, the decision was made to continue with the championship and it promises to be an emotional week as 148 of the country’s best amateurs play for not only Christchurch but for the country.
With his recent success at the NZPGA Championship where Kobori recorded a four shot victory at the Pegasus Golf Club, he has now become one to watch at this level and will enjoy the chance to play another national event here in Christchurch.
To win this week won’t be an easy task with the in-form Jang Hyun Lee also entered in the field. After claiming Bledisloe Cup for the leading amateur at the 100th New Zealand Open earlier this month, the Aucklander is primed to add more silverware to his cabinet as he continues to carve out an impressive resume. The only other amateur to make the cut in Queenstown was the current New Zealand Amateur champion Charlie Smail who is searching for an historic double in Christchurch. He would be the first player to hold both national titles since Vaughn McCall who held both trophies back in 2012.
Lee and Smail will play alongside defending Stroke Play champion Kerry Mountcastle, who won by a whopping eight shots last year, to form an exciting feature group with all three trophy holders going head to head. The field continues to grow in strength with New Zealand representatives Daniel Hillier, Luke Brown and Canterbury’s Matt Mclean set to feature on late on Sunday afternoon.
Defending her women’s title this week is Canterbury’s Juliana Hung who has a great chance to go back-to-back with the championship returning to Christchurch. She recorded the biggest victory of her career at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club last year and will be aiming to record her first win since that special moment. Standing in her way is the next wave of talent with Carmen Lim, Darae Chung, Vivian Lu and Tara Raj always in the mix. However, there is also a stack of experience this year with Britney Dryland, Caryn Khoo and Canterbury’s Catherine Bell posing a huge threat.
While many competitors will be striving to become a national champion here this week, it’s hard not to think of those who have been affected by the tragic events in Christchurch last Friday. After careful advice from Sport New Zealand, Christchurch City Council, the Christchurch Police, Christchurch Golf Club, Canterbury Golf, participating players and New Zealand Golf staff, everyone was hugely supportive of the championship going ahead. During the event we will take the opportunity to ensure that all competitors and officials at the Christchurch Golf Club pay due respect to those who lost their lives.
Click here to see the round one draw.