Tight at the Top After NZ Amateur Qualifying

Dominic Brettkelly
Dominic Brettkelly (NZ Golf)

Three players tied for the top position in the men’s division after the second day of qualifying for the New Zealand Amateur championships, while Momoka Kabori continued her stunning form and finished one shot ahead in the women’s division at Poverty Bay Golf Club.

The first round of matchplay at the 118th New Zealand Amateur Championship offers some enthralling battles for the first leg of the knockout stages of the tournament.

Dominic Brettkelly backed-up his opening round of 65 with a 3-under 69 to take the number one seed at 10-under par heading into the matchplay of the Men’s division. He’s set to face the number 32 qualifier Jesper Bengtsson.

He got off to a good start making birdie at the first followed by a bogey at the second. He then made three birdies on the trot at the fourth, fifth, and sixth holes to get to three-under for the day.

He made two bogeys to round out his opening nine and would make the turn at one-under par.

Brettkelly made two more birdies at the 15th and 18th holes to close and finish at 10-under and secure his spot for the matchplay.

“It was a good number in the end, but it wasn’t very flash,” Brettkelly explained.

“I didn’t play quite as well as yesterday but scrambled well and holed a few good putts. I’m really happy with the number.

“I don’t think much will change for me. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and try and not change the game plan too much and make sure I beat the person in front of me.”

Brettkelly has been working hard at his mental game of late, and it seems to be paying dividends.

He’s had his battles mentally, and says he has no expectations for the week and is going out there to have fun.

“Today was a much better day for me mentally. Every day is hard but it’s nice to be out on this beautiful course on a beautiful day like today; it was a good day and I had a lot of fun.

“I’ve got no expectations for the week. I’m just trying to enjoy my golf at the moment and if I win come the end of the week then that’s awesome. I’m just focusing on playing well but if someone plays better than me and beats me that’s ok as well.”

One of the most exciting first round matches sees the second-seed Kerry Mountcastle play the defending champion Samuel Jones.

Mountcastle fired a blistering eight-under 64 to rocket up the leaderboard and share the medalist honours with Brettkelly and Kazuma Kobori.

Mountcastle has been to the big dance himself where he fell just short in the final to Charlie Smail back in 2018.

He says he can’t wait to get underway for the matchplay portion of the event.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I know I need to play some good golf as Sam has been there and done that last year, but I’ve made it to the final too, so I know what needs to be done to get there again,” Mountcastle said.

“Even though it’s matchplay I’m not going to approach anything differently. What will happen will happen. Sometimes you meet people on a good day, and that’s ok. Hopefully my golf can match or be better than theirs, and I get the job done,” he said.

Mountcastle has also won the New Zealand Strokeplay back in 2018 and looks forward to the opportunity of having his name on both trophies should things go his way this week.

“It would be pretty special to have both of them under my belt; I’m not too sure how many people have done that, but it’d be pretty special to be able to do that.”

Kazuma Kobori also finished as co-medalist and will play Joshua Bai in the first round.

Women’s medalist Momoka Kobori is faced with a mouth-watering matchup against Darae Chung in her opening match of the tournament.

She fired a second round of 2-under to finish at 6-under for the qualifying rounds to snap up the top spot by one over Tara Raj. Chung finished in 16th spot following rounds of 78 and 77 to finish at 11-over par.

Kobori is looking forward to testing herself against one of the best female players in the country.

“I’m actually really looking forward to it. She’s a great player and one of the top-ranked players in the country and I’m looking forward to testing myself against her,” Kobori said.

The women’s medallist had a tidy second round to lock up the top position. She made eight pars and a birdie at the fifth on her opening nine to make the turn in one-under-par.

She then made two more birdies at the 10th and 13th holes to get it to three-under for the day but dropped a shot at the 16th to fall back to two-under.

She said it was a solid day on the course and will need to continue her good form into the matchplay starting tomorrow.

“It was really solid for the most part and I didn’t make any mistakes that were costly for the most part. I just tried to plod my way around and make my pars and I’m happy with how I played today.”

“I haven’t qualified as the top seed before so it’s nice to come back over here after being away and to be able to do that.”

The top 16 women progress to the matchplay which gets underway at 10.45 tomorrow morning.

The top 32 men get underway from 7.30am.

MEN’S ROUND OF 32 DRAW – Friday 23 October

Matches from the First Tee
7:30 Dominic Brettkelly v Jesper Bengtsson
7:38 Tyler Hodge v Jaeseung Na
7:46 Tyler Wood v Ross Allott
7:54 James Hydes v James Tauariki
8:02 Kazuma Kobori v Joshua Bai
8:10 Mako Thompson v Joshua Morris
8:18 Kerry Mountcastle v Samuel Jones
8:26 Jerry Ren v Matt McLean

Matches from the Tenth Tee
7:30 Jimmy Zheng v Shaun Campbell
7:38 Will O’Connor v Caerwyn Ross
7:46 Zac May v Sam Vincent
7:54 Robby Turnbull v Kahu Tataurangi
8:02 Daniel Freeman v Cameron Harlock
8:10 Jayden Ford v Trent Munn
8:18 Jonny McKay v Logan Hooper
8:26 Ethan Jones v Charlie Smail

WOMEN’S ROUND OF 16 DRAW – Friday 23 October

All Matches from the First Tee
10:45 Momoka Kobori v Darae Chung
10:53 Eunseo Choi v Misong Jang
11:01 Yeonsoo Son v Aileen Du
11:09 Fiona Xu v Sumin Kang
11:17 Tara Raj v Tessa McDonald
11:25 Kelly Wu v Anna An
11:33 Vivian Lu v Lizzie Neale
11:41 Rianne Li v Amy Im

Updated 6:41:33 PM




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