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Locals Contending For Men’s Amateur While Top Seeds Remain In Women’s

Three Otago Golf Club players have survived the opening round of match play at the New Zealand Men’s Amateur Championship while the top seeds cruised through to the quarterfinals in the women’s draw.

Co-medallist William McLauchlan, Brandon Hodgson, and Tom Lee have reached the final eight to please the local supporters, who were out in force all day. McLauchlan had a large following this morning, taking on another Otago Golf Club member, Brett Kennelly, in the opening match after he survived a three-for-two playoff yesterday afternoon.

McLauchlan and Kennelly were locked in a tight battle, with neither playing getting more than a hole ahead through the first 12 holes. Kennelly took a 1up advantage heading into the back nine, but the number two seed clawed a couple of holes back early to take the lead for the first time with a handful of holes to play.

The 19-year-old won another to be a couple up with three to play, but the experienced veteran won two of the three, including a birdie at the last to force extra holes.

The pair went shot-for-shot for three playoff holes, with McLauchlan taking the victory on the 22nd.

He then went on to beat rising amateur Cooper Moore this afternoon 3&2 to book his spot in the quarters tomorrow.

McLauchlan says it was a long day at the office.

“I played a few more holes than I would’ve liked to this morning,” he laughs.

“Overall, it was pretty solid. My putting has been great; I’m just trying to keep it going.

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“My caddy Ryan helped me out quite a bit today. This morning was pretty stressful, but I just managed to keep in it and keep fighting. I managed to give myself a lot of looks and ended up capitalising on a few of them.”

He had plenty of home support and hopes they’ll come out tomorrow to watch a blockbuster match against Golf New Zealand National Academy member Joshua Bai.

He says although he hasn’t played with Bai before, he knows the challenge ahead of him.

“It should be a good match. I know he’s very good at golf, so we’ll see what happens.”

Fellow Otago Golf Club member Brandon Hodgson had two big wins today to book his place in tomorrow’s quarters against Tyler Wood.

The Otago representative beat Hamish Ireland this morning 4&3 and Dominic Hazeldine 5&4 this afternoon to be fresh heading into the final eight tomorrow.

His Otago teammate Tom Lee was clinical today, beating 2018 New Zealand Amateur champion Charlie Smail 3&2, and then Australian Harry Goakes 1up this afternoon.

Lee will line up against another Australian, Jasper Stubbs, tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, the top seeds have advanced to the quarters in the New Zealand Women’s Amateur Championship.

Medallist Jessica Green comfortably beat Cassie Luo 6&5 this morning to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal match against Darae Chung.

Green says she’s been playing great golf of late, and is looking forward to testing herself against one of New Zealand’s best amateurs in Darae Chung tomorrow morning.

“I was really steady out there. I played well, and although the score line was in my favour, it was still a great match.

“I’m really looking forward to playing Darae. She’s a great player, so hopefully, we’ll have another really good match tomorrow.”

Green is in some career-best form, recently finishing as the best women at the Carrus Open just over a month ago.

She credits her current form to her ball striking, which is something she will be leaning on her her quarterfinal.

“I’m keeping the ball in play and seem to be giving myself plenty of opportunities. It’s great for stroke play, but I’ll need to be a little more aggressive tomorrow, especially against a great player like Darae.”

2018 champion and number three seed Vivian Lu also survived a tough opening match against Tara Raj, winning 2up.

Lu is battling with a bit of jetlag after returning home from Thailand, where she competed at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific.

After a tough start to the tournament, she’s improved each day and says her game is in good shape for the rest of the week.

She’ll play Aroha Minhinnick in tomorrow’s quarters, after she upset Eunseo Choi.

Lu is excited to tee it up tomorrow after a tough match today.

“It was definitely a battle out there. We both made a couple of errors which saw us go up the last, but I’m pretty happy to fight back and take the win.

“My game feels okay. I’m still quite tired and jetlagged, so I’m pushing through that.”

The quarters will be played over 18-holes tomorrow morning with the semi’s to follow in the afternoon.

The final on Sunday will be played over 36-holes.

The opening tee shot will be hit at 8 am tomorrow.

Match play results and tomorrow’s draw: https://www.golf.co.nz/news-detail?newsarticleid=27730&mode=edit

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