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Munn, Hodge qualify for prestigious amateur event

Congratulations to Josh Munn and Tyler Hodge on qualifying for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships to be played at Royal Melbourne in October. Below is the press release from NZ Golf.

Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship: Six Kiwis line up for Royal Melbourne

New Zealand will have six golfers competing at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne next month.

Tae Koh (Manukau), Josh Munn (Manawatu), James Beale (North Shore), Jordan Bakermans (Christchurch), Tyler Hodge (Levin) and Blair Riordan (Takaka) all qualified for the event as the top ranked New Zealanders on the World Amateur Golf Rankings as of the 21st of August 2014.

This year’s event will be hosted by the Royal Melbourne Golf Club from October 23 – 26.

The championship offers the winner an invitation to the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, while the champion and runner(s)-up earn spots in the International Final Qualifying for The Open Championship.

The event is organised by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A, and will feature up to 120 players from the APGC’s 36 member associations. Nations are offered between two to six invitations depending on their players’ World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

A number of the Kiwis traveling to Melbourne have already shown that they are not overawed by the big occasion across the ditch.

The 21-year-old Koh won the Australian Amateur Championship in January in a coming of age performance. He was only the third Kiwi to win the title and first since Michael Campbell in 22 years. Koh has gone on to have his most consistent season to be top of the NZ Golf Order of Merit.

Munn has also had his own fair share of success in Australia. The New Zealand Amateur Champion claimed the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship in 2013. Munn shot a final round six-under par 66 to win by three strokes in the quality field.

His Manawatu team-mate Hodge won his first international title in Brisbane in 2012 when he won the Australian Under 19 Championship. He went on to become the first Kiwi golfer to win both the Australian and New Zealand Under 19 titles in the same year. Hodge was impressive in his debut representing NZ at the Ten Nations in South Africa.

Riordan, the North Island Stroke Play Champion, was part of the team who won the Sloan Morpeth Trophy in the Trans-Tasman Cup in 2012.

He has been one of the form golfers in New Zealand this year. He is third on the NZ Golf Order of Merit after also finishing third at the New Zealand Stroke Play and the leading qualifier in his home province for the New Zealand Amateur Championship.

US-based Beale made headlines earlier this year when he became the third Kiwi golfer to win the Canadian Amateur Championship. The 21-year-old holed a long putt in a playoff to secure his breakthrough win and will look to bring that sort of form to the famous Alister McKenzie-designed layout.

The sixth player in the Kiwi group, Jordan Bakermans, has shown he has the ability to compete at the highest level. The Canterbury rep secured the biggest win of his career in March when he won the Bledisloe Cup for the leading amateur at the New Zealand Open in Queenstown. He also finished second at the South Island Stroke Play.

Gregg Thorpe, the High Performance Manager at New Zealand Golf, believed that the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship presents a great opportunity for all six players.

“This event has gone from strength to strength in a short time to be recognised around the world as a tournament of real significance,” said Thorpe.

“International events like this are ideal for emerging talent to develop experience at this level or for the players nearing the end of their amateur days to show case their abilities. We are very thankful to the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A for providing such a magnificent stage for amateur golfers to perform.”

New Zealand amateurs Peter Spearman-Burn (2010), Ben Campbell (2011) and to a lesser extent Daniel Pearce (2012) all came close to winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, and with this year’s event being played close to home and in more familiar conditions, this year’s group of New Zealand invitees will be well poised to contest for the silverware and the spoils that come with it.

The championship will be broadcast to more than 150 countries, confirming it as the world’s most televised amateur golf tournament.

One of New Zealand’s most successful touring professionals Frank Nobilo, who helped the International Team win the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in 1998, is returning as part of the commentary team.

“Like most, I forged my game in amateur tournaments early in my career,” said Nobilo, who turned pro in 1979, having won the New Zealand Amateur Championship the previous year.

“So I’m delighted to join the commentary team for this year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which offers exciting opportunities to play in the Majors that we never had in our day.”

NZ team to compete at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship
Tae Koh (Manukau), Josh Munn (Manawatu), James Beale (North Shore), Jordan Bakermans (Christchurch), Tyler Hodge (Levin) and Blair Riordan (Takaka)

Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship Fact Box
When: October 23 – 26
Where: Royal Melbourne GC, Melbourne
For more information visit: CLICK HERE

Peter Thornton | New Zealand Golf
Media & PR Manager