2017 New Zealand Women’s Senior Championships
Waihi Golf Club February 20-2
Final Report Friday 24 February 2017
It took 21 holes on the final round to determine the winner of this year’s New Zealand Women’s Senior Championships at Waihi Golf Club.
A birdie on the final hole was the deciding shot for Australian Kim Burke, of Shelly Beach on the NSW Central Coast. She took out the championship title after a tense play-off against fellow Australian, Helen Pascoe, of Buninyong in Victoria.
Burke was one of 16 Australians who added competitive heat to the record field of 128 players at the 69th annual women’s senior’s tournament. Players from the length and width of New Zealand as well as from across the ‘ditch’ battled it out over four days of challenging golf.
After Monday’s stroke play round, with a score of 76, Burke was seeded second in the 16-player draw. There she came up against Robyn Pellow (Ngaruawahia), a two-time NZ Seniors Champion. Burke won that match with relative ease, five and four to then play against another Australian, the defending champion Sharon Dawson (Lake Karrinyup).
After trailing in the initial stages of this match, Burke began to display the ‘terrier’ qualities that proved crucial in the matches that followed. She won on the 18th, then had to go onto the 19th to take out the current Australian champion senior, Jacqui Morgan. Coming from behind, Burke’s birdies on the 10th, 12th and 13th and 18th squared the match and forced it to be decided at the extra hole.
In the final, long-hitting Pascoe led Burke by two strokes at the turn, but Burke sank a steading putt on the 18th for par against Pascoe’s bogey to make them even. The pair both carded bogeys on the first playoff hole, then pars on the second before Burke secured the championship title with a finely executed birdie putt on the third playoff hole.
The 69th championship also marked a significant development of senior women’s golf between Australia and New Zealand. Tournament directors, PaR nz Golfing Holidays (under the auspices of New Zealand Golf) confirmed a place for the leading Kiwi to represent New Zealand in the 2017 Australian Senior Women’s Amateur, to be played on October 23-27 at Maroochy River, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Robyn Pullar (Invercargill) was announced as the inaugural recipient of the sponsorship, being the best placed Kiwi in the NZ Senior Championships, and the only New Zealander to make the semi-finals. Pullar faced the in-form Pascoe in the first semi-final of the day, and narrowly missed advancing to the final.
Golf Australia provides the top four seeds from its equivalent championship, and PaR nz Golfing Holidays’ intends to build on its initial investment to enable more New Zealand representation. Similar initiatives will apply to the Men’s and Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships, from 2018 onwards.
It is exciting times for senior women players on both sides of the Tasman. The Seniors Trans-Tasman Test Match, scheduled for early 2018, will be the first time eight senior men and four senior women will compete in a Ryder Cup / Presidents Cup format and frequency. This is a development of the popular Sanctuary Cove Trophy, which to date has been an exclusively men’s event. New Zealand Golf’s selection criteria for the new test match is yet to be made public.
The list of prize winners at Waihi is extensive with multiple flights and plates. Helen Pascoe won the Senior Veterans Cup for the best gross, with Sue Cox (Mangawhai) winning the Eileen Nutt Best Net, with a net 65 on Monday. Lesley Otway (Hamilton) won the prestigious Vesta Cup for the best gross by a plater aged 70 and over. She carded an 89 in her Stroke Play round.
In the Senior Challenge Cup (Division 1), Jill Morgan (Te Awamutu) won the plate, and Shelley McElroy (Springfield) and Robyn Boniface (Queens Park) won the flights.
Dianne Gilmour (Rotorua) was awarded the Waipukurau Jubilee Salver, and Judy Fullerton (Hauraki) earned the Hawkes Bay Salver.
Waihi player Avon Gordon received the Manawatu – Wanganui Salver with another local player, Robin Zinzan, who was called in as a reserve, winning the Canterbury Rosebowl.
Mary Symons (Otautau) now has her name engraved on the Maunu Trophy and, similarly, Walton member Heather Sharp will feature on the Wanaka Cup.
In recognition of the record number of entries, the host club donated a new tournament trophy, which was awarded to Elspeth Wing from Mt Maunganui.
A record field coupled with exciting announcements on trans-Tasman competition and funding made for a great week of senior women’s golf.
For more information please contact Denise Langdon, NZ Golf Tournament Director - Phone 0275 662 385.