New Zealand Golf Magazine - - FEATURE -

The Asia-Pa­cific Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship was cre­ated in Fe­bru­ary 2009 as a joint ini­tia­tive to de­velop the game by the Asia Pa­cific Golf Con­fed­er­a­tion, the Masters Tour­na­ment and The R&A. An in­vi­ta­tion to play in the Masters Tour­na­ment and The Open is given to the win­ner, while the run­ner(s)-up gain a place in The Open Qual­i­fy­ing Se­ries for The Open.

The 120-player field is an­nu­ally com­prised of the top male am­a­teurs in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion rep­re­sent­ing the 41 Asia Pa­cific Golf Con­fed­er­a­tion mem­ber or­gan­i­sa­tions. A Korean, Han Chang, tri­umphed at the in­au­gu­ral event in China in 2009, be­fore Hideki Mat­suyama won in his na­tive Ja­pan in 2010 and suc­cess­fully de­fended his ti­tle in Sin­ga­pore the fol­low­ing year.

At 14 years old, Guan Tian­lang of China won the fourth edi­tion of the event in 2012, while Lee Chang-woo from South Korea claimed the ti­tle the next year in China.

Aus­tralian An­to­nio Mur­daca be­came the next cham­pion in 2014 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club. In 2015, Chi­nese No. 1-ranked am­a­teur golfer Jin Cheng fired a course-record eight-un­der 62 en route to win­ning the AAC at The Clear­wa­ter Bay Golf & Coun­try Club in Hong Kong. The 2016 cham­pion was Aus­tralian Cur­tis Luck, who tri­umphed with a bo­gey-free 67 and a one-stroke vic­tory af­ter start­ing the fi­nal round seven strokes be­hind the lead.

Each coun­try ac­cred­ited to the AAC re­ceives two - six places in the field, de­ter­mined by World Am­a­teur Golf Rank­ings. Of course there are strict pro­to­cols in place to en­sure the best take their places. The most strin­gent of course is that they are all Am­a­teurs.

The ex­cep­tion to the in­vi­ta­tions rule is that for the host coun­try. They get TEN slots and this rule al­lowed a very rare op­por­tu­nity for our top male golfers to com­pete for the ul­ti­mate re­wards.

It was hoped that this year at Royal Welling­ton in the last week of Oc­to­ber would break the stran­gle­hold that Asia has had on this event. His­tory though showed that it would be un­likely!

The New Zealan­ders to play were (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)

A lot of pre event dis­cus­sion was on the form of Nick Voke, fresh off a good run in the USA so there was a lot of hope there.

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