Vivian Lu and Kazuma Kobori Win New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play Titles

Vivian Lu and Kazuma Kobori with their trophies. (Golf NZ)
Vivian Lu and Kazuma Kobori with their trophies. (Golf NZ)

Vivian Lu and Kazuma Kobori continued their stunning recent form by seeing off most of the field and winning the New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play titles at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club on the weekend.

Vivian Lu has added the Mellsop Cup next to her New Zealand Amateur trophy for the first time to further cement herself as one of the country’s premier women golfers.

Lu began the final day a shot behind Darae Chung and the pair were locked in a tight tussle for the entirety of the final round.

She opened with five straight pars before making a birdie at the sixth followed by an eagle at the par-five 17th to tie Chung’s lead.

Lu played her back nine in 1-under par to get the job done over Chung who came home in 1-over.

Lu said it feels awesome to get another big national title to her name.

“This feels really good. I didn’t expect too much as the first rounds weren’t great. I was trying to hang in there and not let Darae get too far ahead of me which I managed to do. I was then able to put the foot down and try and go for the win,” Lu explained.

Lu also said she’s really happy to get her name on both the amateur and stroke play trophies.

“I’m not too sure how many people have done that, but it feels pretty awesome. I’m really happy.”

Lu will next tee it up at the Autex Muriwai Open in three weeks’ time.

Kazuma Kobori carded rounds of 68, 70, 72, and 67 to finish at 7-under par for the tournament and three shots clear of his roommate and fellow Golf New Zealand National Academy member Sam Jones, while Lu also pipped her roommate and fellow team member Darae Chung as well.

Kobori’s trophy cabinet is growing at a rapid pace and he has yet another piece of silverware to add next to his NZPGA Championship. The New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play is a title he’s desperately wanted and has been within touching distance in the last two years, only to come up just shy.

He said it’s hugely satisfying to get the job done.

“To be able to lift this trophy, especially after the last two years is great. I came close in 2019 at Christchurch Golf Club against [Luke] Brown after he binned an eagle putt on the last to beat me,” Kobori said.

“I came up just short last year as well at Hastings, and it feels really good to finally get my hands on the St Andrews Salver this year.”

The 19-year-old started the final day just a shot in front of Jones and made his intentions clear early in his round with a birdie on the first. After making a bogey at the 4th hole, he made three birdie to close his opening nine at the fifth, seventh, and ninth holes to make the turn at 3-under and remain in control.

Kobori picked another shot up at the 12th but gave it back at the tough par four 17th to keep things interesting. However, he was clinical up the last hitting the par-five 18th green in two and have the liberty of a two-putt birdie to win his first national stroke play title.

He said it’s a great reward for the hard work he’s put in.

“I’ve been playing some really good golf this year after an abysmal year last year. I’ve managed to start the year off strong and I’m hoping to keep the trend going.”

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