12 months ago a birdie on the last hole propelled Tyler Hodge into a playoff for the North Island Under 19 Championship which he eventually lost to Sam An.
As part of a 20 strong contingent from Manawatu Wanganui, this year Hodge will be aiming to go one place higher and add his third North Island title to an ever growing trophy cabinet. Victory here in both the Under 15 and 17 catergories in previous years will have him as the hot favourite for the 2012 title. Snapping close on his heels will be fellow Interprovincial team mate Trent Munn. Full of confidence after a great finish to the 2011 season, Munn won the Under 17 title here in 2010 and will look to make up for a mid field finish last year. Others to keep your eyes on are senior representative players Rhys Harold and Jack Leenards. Harold already has a national Under 13 title to his name and would dearly love to pick up the Under 15 title here. In the Under 13 category Greg Shaw may just be the surprise of the tournament. Numerous low rounds in the 70's in recent weeks have him in hot form and should he transfer this to the Hamilton Golf Club layout then anything could happen.
Perhaps the biggest achiever of 2011, Emma Clayton, will be looking for a trifecta of wins after missing this event last year and then going on to win the South Island and NZ Under 15 titles. A multiple winner in senior events also throughout 2011, her handicap of 0.9 reflects the many hours of practice and dedication which has seen this impressive success so early in her career. Brydie Hodge, Keita Durie and Amber Rose Thompson Newth should also be near the top of the leaderboard as they continue their fine play of 2011 which saw them represent the district at senior level all season.
Good luck to all those participating. The event starts on Wednesday January 18th - link to event details here"