Josh Munn, Tyler Hodge and Trent Munn lead a contingent of 13 district players teeing of tomorrow in the inaugural stand alone New Zealand Strokeplay at the Bridge Pa golf course in Hastings. For the first time the event has been split from the New Zealand Amateur Championship which will now be contested at Mount Maunganui in April (Manawatu Golf Club in 2013).
As the districts number one player over the past two years, Josh Munn has been representing the country in various Australian events recently which has allowed the remaning players to shine in his absence. Brother Trent has had a great start to the season, featuring high in most national events which has seen him rewarded with New Zealand selection to compete in the Australian Junior Amateur in three weeks, alongside Hodge, as part of a four man NZ Team. These three players have all scared the leaderboards so far this year without success and it will surely only be time before they head one on a Sunday afternoon.
Joining these players will be fellow team member from the recent NZ Team Strokeplay champion side, Lachie McDonald, who due to normal work commitments has been unable to compete in many of the other events played earlier in the year. He has recorded impressive scores so far this season in his limited play and is one to watch after many succesful NZ Amateur campaigns in the past. Remaining 'fulltime' workers such as Malcolm Wells and Stu Smith along with up and coming school kids Rhys Harold, Kaylin Huwyler, Jack Leenards and the recently returned Tyler Lock will round out the district players.
Impressive women's players Emma Clayton and Brydie Hodge will also tee it up against New Zealand's best. Clayton is returning from comprehensive swing changes following a sensational 6 months of golf at the end of 2011. She missed the cut at last weeks North Island Strokeplay by one position after driving to the event overnight following a school camp. Preparation for this event should be back to normal and expectations are for another top 15 position in arguably the best women's amateur field of the year. Hodge has played great golf in the past month to make the cut at both NI and SI Strokeplay Championships and is now consistently shooting in the mid to high 70's. Four more of those will see her inside the top 15 also. With fellow Interprovincial team mates Stephanie McKillop, Keita Durie and Kelly Nicholas missing from the field, it will be their chance to shine infront of both the district and NZ selectors whom will surely be looking at these two for national junior sides in the near future.