McElroy outclasses at Mid Amateur
2017 New Zealand Men’s & Women’s Mid Amateur
Omanu Golf Club January 13-15
Bay of Plenty representative Shelley McElroy topped both the women’s and men’s fields at the recent 2017 New Zealand Mid Amateur championships at Omanu Golf Course, near Tauranga.
The Springfield player finished four over par on the modified par-71 course, and one stroke ahead of the top men’s competitor, fellow Bay of Plenty player Brent Curnow.
It was McElroy’s first win in the prestigious national Mid Amateur tournament, which this year attracted players from throughout New Zealand and Australia as well as from France and Tahiti.
McElroy saved her best to last with a one-under-par result on the final 18 holes to score 217 for the 54-hole, three-day event. Strong afternoon sea breezes across the link-style course during the opening round proved a challenge for all, including the many experienced district representatives in the women’s field.
McElroy opened her charge with a two-over 73 that give her a one-shot lead heading into day two. Strong North Harbour player Vaha Fapiano chased hard to finish on 74 in her opening round, and Taranaki representative Ann Braithwaite had a dream run to finish on 75 and three shots under her handicap.
McElroy, however, cemented her lead in Saturday’s play with a 74 and a four-shot lead over Fapiano in improved weather conditions, and a one-under-par total for the final 18 holes secured the Women’s Trust Shield.
Fapiano finished in second place on 224 with a final round of 73. Defending champion Jill Morgan, a Waikato representative, finished third on 226, nudging Braithwaite, on 228, into fourth place.
Braithwaite achieved the best stableford score over the three days, of 111 points – three better than her six handicap. Liz Bartlett, of Ngaruawahia, earned the best net with net rounds of 70, 68 and 70. Like Braithwaite, Bartlett played well under handicap and thoroughly enjoyed her three days on the Omanu course.
Men’s winner Brent Curnow was all smiles too after winning the Neil Woodbury Cup and the top men’s award. He shot a 73 in the first round, backed up by a par round of 71 the next day, and a final four-over 75 for a tournament total of 218.
Curnow, who plays most of his golf at the neighbouring Mt Maunganui Golf Club, has won his club championship for two successive years but has not yet represented his district.
Marcus Raman, of Redwood Park, finished two shots behind Curnow after rounds of 75, 74 and 71. James Malone, Te Ngutu, had the best round of the tournament with 67 on the final day, rocketing him up the board to share third place with Ken Meaden, Muriwai, on 221.
Tom Ratima, of Foxton, easily won the men’s leading net prize with rounds of 70, 63 and 64, and Greg Quinn returned to Mangawhai with the prize for the leading stableford score.
Australian player Damon Flood was expected to present strong competition in the men’s event, but a wrist injury ended his participation after the first round.
The tournament, managed by PaR nz Golfing Holidays on behalf of New Zealand Golf, will return to Omanu Golf Club next year.