Queenstown Golf Professional James Anstiss wasted no time getting back from the USA when he learned NZ borders were closed to non-citizens at the start of this Coronavirus lockdown period.
“When I heard that and the fact we were going into lockdown in a few days, I made a quick decision to fly back home next day,” Anstiss related.
Before this sudden stop to his pro career, Anstiss had made a very promising start to the year.
His 24th place at the New Zealand Open was a solid effort before he left the country.
“After the NZ Open finished on the Sunday I flew to Auckland then onto Mexico next day for the first event on the PGA Latino America Tour, the Estrella del Mar Open,” Anstiss continued.
“The scoring was red hot that week with the cut at 7-under being the lowest ever on that tour.”
Anstiss comfortably made the cut and played well with 67,67,68,71 to finish 15-under in a tie for 35th. The winner scored an amazing 29-under.
“Following that I flew to the US to compete in the Coke Dr Pepper Open, an All Pro Tour event in Alexandria, Louisiana.
“It was played on two courses, Bayou and Oakwing. I scored 67,71 to make the cut on 6-under.
“We then got the news the Players Champs had been cancelled plus PGA events for the next four weeks, meaning no more Latin American Tour.
“However the All Pro Tour were determined to finish their event and I scored 67,66 to finish 17-under and in a tie for 11th.”
“My plan was to play the next week on the All Pro Tour before heading to Argentina for three events in April on the LA tour, however the APT event was cancelled so suddenly there was nothing to play in.
“I hung around in Louisiana for a few days playing golf with some of my old teammates from my college days before the NZ border closure news ended that.”
With his hopes of playing many events in Mexico and the USA dashed for the foreseeable future Anstiss has to make the best of his time at home in Queenstown.
“I have now been home three weeks and have set up a make-do driving range in my garage hitting balls off a range mat into a few blankets.
“I am really looking forward to getting back out to the golf course and hoping the world can get back to some normality soon and hopefully we can play some tournaments later in the year.”