There were tears of joy for Australian Cherie Alison who shot a three-under par 69 to win the sixth Anita Boon Pro-Am at North Shore Golf Club today.
Alison, who plays rarely with her role as Golf Operations Manager at Port Kembla Golf Club near Wollongong in New South Wales, finished on two-under 142 to claim the honours by five shots.
The tournament, with the support of major sponsors KFC and Coca-Cola, offered an excellent NZ$40,000 prize purse that has attracted 27 professionals for the 36 hole event co-sanctioned by the New Zealand Professional Women Golfers (NZPWG) and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG).
The former European Tour professional Alison has never won on the ALPG before, rushing home four-under for the final nine holes in tough windy conditions.
The victory brought tears to the Australian who dedicated the win to her father, the key guiding figure in her golfing career, who passed away two years ago.
There’s a strong Kiwi connection with her husband and caddy from Auckland and her in-laws living close to the course.
“I haven’t played since February so to win when you are not playing fulltime is amazing,” Alison said. “The coaching I am doing, in particular working on golfers’ impact position, has really helped me. I feel I am in better position on impact than I have ever been even without practising so much.”
She led by one shot going into the second round but was determined to improve further today.
“I was hoping to go under par to fight positively and not just try to hold the lead. The second nine was fantastic with four birdies and five pars.
“I hit it better yesterday but I didn’t get into any real trouble today. But I felt he conditions were just as hard today – the winds were really tough but we got away with virtually no rain.”
Fellow Australians Danielle Montgomery and Ashlee Dewhurst, in joint second place overnight, could not be separated today. Both fired one-over par 73s to finish on three-over par 147, five shots adrift of the winner.
Montgomery, who players on the Ladies European Tour, mixed two birdies with three bogeys today while Dewhurst, who returns to the China Tour next week, also had two birdies and three dropped shots.
Leading Kiwi was North harbour’s Stacey Tate who shot a second successive 76 to finish fourth on eight-over par, after a mixed round with three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey. She has recently returned to live in New Zealand after the past 15 months in Sydney, and will target a full summer on the ALPG.
Fifth place went to Australian Jodie Fleming on 10-over, while sixth was shared by Aussie Breanna Gill and big hitting Kiwi pro Phillis Meti, while Australian Vicky Thomas hit 16 greens in her one-over 73 – 10 shots better than her first round – to climb to eighth.
The tournament, to promote the development of women’s professional golf, is named in honour of former New Zealand player Anita Boon, who passed away from ovarian cancer. The tournament raises funds for NZ Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, which was Boon’s chosen charity.