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The ten New Zealand Amateur
golfers to play this year's AsiaPacific Amateur Championship have been named. It will be the first time the event has been contested in New Zealand.
The host club, Royal Wellington Golf Club, are looking forward to having the best amateur golfers from the Asia- Pacific region contest for the prestigious title from October 26th - 29th.
The group, headed by Nick Voke, will all have a chance of securing a place at both the 2018 Masters Tournament and 147th Open Championship by becoming the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion.
New Zealand Golf's High Performance Manager Gregg Thorpe is looking forward to the prospect of New Zealand hosting the event and therefore having ten players in the field to vie for the title.
“The last week in October will represent a fantastic opportunity for these ten men. Having the chance to win a major amateur championship in your own back yard, that comes with the chance to play at Augusta National as well as in an Open Championship, that is about as exciting as it gets!”.
“This group have been working hard in anticipation of receiving this invite. We were fortunate to have Greg Turner work with the players prior to last year's New Zealand Amateur at Royal Wellington and we have further preparation planned leading up to the event.”
“The New Zealand Amateur at Royal Wellington was well supported by the Royal Wellington members and Wellington golf fans alike, so we hope we get some good local support this year too. It will be a great event for the public to come out and watch because you could be seeing the next Hideki Matsuyama who has won this event twice.”
Nick Voke has been in fine form this year, re writing the record books at Iowa State University in the United States. Among his accomplishments are winning the Hawkeye Invitational and the NCAA Austin Regional where he helped Iowa State qualify for the National Championships setting a new scoring record for the University along the way.
Joining Voke will be a strong contingent of U.S based kiwis including Denzel Ieremia, James Anstiss, Henry Spring and Charlie Hillier who will all make the trip back to Wellington in October.
Leading the New Zealand based charge will be Ryan Chisnall and Daniel Hillier. Chisnall and Hillier recently completed campaigns in the U.S, gaining valuable competitive experience, preparing them for the challenges ahead, with both players making the cut at the prestigious Southern Amateur finishing T23 and T15 respectively.
Hillier, who already has an impressive resume in his young career, will have the advantage of local knowledge as he is based in Wellington and is expecting the conditions to be challenging.
“It's usually the windiest time of year for us so it will be interesting to see how that affects the course. It's also not that warm so the ball won't be travelling that far and it can be a bit softer so it will play quite long,” Hillier warned.
“The wind swirls around the course so that trips up a few people. One shot could be straight into it; one shot could be straight down. You just have to make sure you know where the wind's coming from when you hit your shot.”
Rounding out the group, that is selected from the World Amateur Golf Rankings, are New Zealand Stroke Play Champion Mark Hutson, Northland's Luke Brown and Wellington's Kerry Mountcastle.
If a kiwi was to win in 2017 it would be the for the first time with the best performances in the past being Peter Spearman Burn and Ben Campbell each finishing 3rd in 2009 and 2011 respectively and Luke Toomey coming close last year, but also eventually ending in third place. Never before has the chance to play Augusta National and at an Open Championship been so close for so many of New Zealand's best young amateurs.
The invited New Zealanders to play for this year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, to be played at Royal Wellington Golf Club, Wellington. 26-29 October are (WAGR at time of selection); Nick Voke (61), Ryan Chisnall (75) Daniel Hillier (93), Luke Brown (221) Denzel Ieremia (315), Mark Hutson (390), James Anstiss (405) Kerry Mountcastle(418), Henry Spring (520), Charlie Hillier (536)
Royal Wellington Golf Club.