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National Champions Eye South Island Age Groups

Five current or former national champions headline a stellar 88-player field who’re looking to win their respective age groups at the South Island Age Group Championships at Otago Golf Club this week.

They’ll compete for under-19 and under-16 boys and girls titles over 54 holes of stroke play at the course where golf was first played in New Zealand in 1871. Robby Turnbull and Sebastian May, the reigning New Zealand Stroke Play and New Zealand Amateur champions, are looking to add their names further to New Zealand golfing history and lead a strong field for the under-19 boys title.

Turnbull enters the week boasting some exceptional form of late, winning the New Zealand Stroke Play at Paraparaumu Beach a few weeks ago with an impressive 17-under-par total and finishing in equal sixth at last week’s Australian Junior Amateur.

Brodie Ferguson, the reigning North Island Under 19 Boys champion, has also shown some positive form of late and should be another force in the under-19 boys division. He finished in a share of 10th at the New Zealand Stroke Play and won the bronze medal for finishing as the third equal amateur.

Others who have shown promise in national events are Yuki Miya and Daniel Freeman, who will also look to contend in the under-19 boys section on Friday.

Emma Zheng, the reigning North Island Women’s Stroke Play champion, is looking to add her name to the South Island Under 19 Girls title. She comes into the week with success this year, winning the Taranaki Stroke Play, Hastings Stroke Play, and Wairarapa Open. She will face tough competition from Chloe Lam, who has also returned from the Australian Junior Amateur last week.

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The final former national champion in the field is Yoonae Jeong, who won the New Zealand Under 16 title a couple of years ago at Pukekohe Golf Club. She recently won the Southland Stroke Play and is expected to be one of the contenders come Friday afternoon.

Finally, Ricky Kang and William Dunsmore headline the South Island Under 16 Boys division. Kang, the brother of Otago women’s number one, Sumin, had a positive week at the Autex Muriwai Open last week, finishing in a share of 39th.

The championship begins tomorrow morning at 8 am off two tees.

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