Auckland’s Siyi Keh (New Zealand Golf photo)
TAUPO, New Zealand (Nov. 2, 2018) – The beginning of match play made for some excitement at the New Zealand Amateur Championship with the top 32 players creating some early drama at the Wairakei Golf & Sanctuary.
The leading qualifier hoodoo was in full force as Jimmy Zheng was defeated on the 19th hole by a courageous Junior Tatana in the morning round, before Kit Bittle came from behind to take down his interprovincial teammate Mark Hutson, 3 and 2, in the afternoon.
But for Auckland’s Siyi Keh, it was a day to remember after downing two of the tournaments biggest scalps by defeating New Zealand Stroke Play champion and second seed Juliana Hung, 1 up, in the morning before turning it on in the afternoon to defeat the 2016 champion Rose Zheng by an impressive 6-and-5 margin.
She has good company in the final 16 with defending champion Silvia Brunotti looking comfortable once again by defeating Madeline May and Anna An.
But all of the Kiwis should be fearful of Korea’s Kum Kang Park, who is looking flawless since finishing as the lead qualifier Thursday then defeating Amy Im, 5 and 4, and Hannah Park, 1 up.
They will be joined by Auckland’s Carmen Lim and Vivian Lu, who enjoyed a comfortable day alongside Otago’s Laura Hoskin who is only getting better as the week progresses.
In earlier heroics, it was Junior Tatana who made the biggest statement of the day to defeat lead qualifier Jimmy Zheng in the men’s field. After being stuck behind a car crash on the way to the course, Tatana was lucky make his tee time, before finding his own trouble and quickly dropping three holes.
However, with an impressive three late birdies, the 41-year-old fought back to win on the 10th hole which he has played a whopping six times in three days after a long playoff the night before. The script didn’t change much in the afternoon against 2013 Champion Kadin Neho, who took an early lead before having to beat Tatana on the final hole after Tatana made a string of late birdies once again.
Neho has been away from the game for a long time, but to see him back and doing more than just competing is exciting and it seems this championship brings the best out of the Northlander.
After a stress-free morning win, defending champion Daniel Hillier was pushed right to the limit this afternoon to win on the final hole against a determined Scott Manyweathers to continue his campaign in the aim of securing his third New Zealand Amateur title.
With Kerry Mountcastle also winning in convincing fashion, the two Eisenhower representatives will play out a mouth-watering quarterfinal Saturday morning with the winner to face either Kit Bittle or former New Zealand Under 19 Champion Mako Thompson in the Semi Finals.
ABOUT THE New Zealand Amateur
Match play championship of New Zealand for men
women. 36 holes of stroke play qualifying to
32 players for single elimination match play.
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