Jenna Hunter in action on way to victory at the recent Carrus Open at Tauranga Golf Club.
Photo Credit: BW Media-Simon Watts
North Harbour professional golfer Jenna Hunter is hoping success on her home course in next week's Anita Boon Pro-Am will help catapult her to the LPGA Tour.
Twenty-six year-old Hunter is hoping to go one better than last year's second placing in the 36-hole event that is co-sanctioned by the New Zealand Professional Women Golfers (NZPWG) and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG).
The sixth Anita Boon Pro-Am will be again staged at the North Shore Golf Club on 13 and 14 November. The tournament, with the support of major sponsors KFC and Coca-Cola, will again offer an attractive NZ$40,000 prize purse that has attracted 27 professionals and a field of amateurs keen to experience playing with some of women golf's stars of tomorrow.
Hunter finished in a share of third in the inaugural event in 2009, tied for fourth in 2010 and second to Australian Karen Pearce last year.
“After finishing second last year, it would mean a lot to me if I could win at home in what is always a really strong field. I am happy with how my game is progressing,” says Jenna Hunter.
That confidence was due to her breakout win on the Charles Tour, when the South African born Kiwi won the recent Carrus Open in Tauranga by a massive 12 shots.
Hunter said the win has given her a huge amount of confidence as she builds towards an attempt to qualify for the LPGA Tour in 2015.
She is one of eleven New Zealand professionals in the field including the winner of the original Anita Boon Pro-Am, Kerryn Starr from Canterbury, who is returning for just the second time since focussing on raising two children, and recovering from a recent wrist injury.
Other Kiwis in the field include former European Tour professionals Pam Greenhalgh, Liz McKinnon, Susan Farron and Gina Scott.
Big hitting Phillis Meti is always worth watching, and there is also interest in former national amateur champion Larissa Eruera, who played collegiate golf in the United States, but is now a PGA Gateway Coach, working at The First Tee of New Zealand.
Another Kiwi hoping to use the Anita Boon Pro-Am to springboard her future is 25-year-old Aucklander Tania Tare, who turned professional this year after graduating from Florida International University.
NZPWG spokesperson Liz McKinnon, said the quality of the New Zealanders in the field is improving, with a mix of former touring professionals and young pros keen to establish themselves.
"The Anita Boon Pro-Am provides a real incentive for New Zealand professionals to test themselves against some excellent internationals, and the prize purse is amongst the most lucrative for a 36-hole event for women on either side of the Tasman,” says Liz McKinnon.
”Importantly, the tournament carries ranking points on the ALPG and the opportunity to earn starts in the major women's professional tournaments across the Tasman this summer,” McKinnon explains.
The Anita Boon Pro-Am was established in 2009 as the first all-women’s pro-am in the country in memory of former New Zealand representative Anita Boon who passed away from ovarian cancer.
“Anita continues to inspire us to improve this tournament and we are blessed to have the continued support from KFC along with Coca-Cola who share our passion for this event,” Says Liz McKinnon.
The tournament will raise funds for NZ Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, which was Boon’s chosen charity.
The international players will be announced later this week.
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