New Zealand professional Cathryn Bristow stole the show at the Anita Boon Pro-am at the North Shore GC in Auckland today, shooting a 3 under par 69 in the tricky afternoon breeze to take a 2 shot lead over Victorian star Stacey Keating. The Kiwi number 2 ranked player behind world number 1 Lydia Ko got off to a fast start with 5 birdies on the front nine, and despite dropping shots on the back 9 was satisfied with her round.
Bristow said “Today was a good day all round. Good group of guys, everything went well. The 7 birdies really helped, I was hitting the ball straight and hitting the irons well. It helps to be home, I feel relaxed. The past few months I have been feeling much more positive about my game”
Bristow has had a challenging year, starting off 2015 having to sit out the majority of the ALPG tour season due to a chronic neck injury, and she has worked incredibly hard to get back to fitness with lots of rehabilitation, and strength and conditioning.
Her form in the second half of the season on the Ladies European Tour certainly points to the fact that a healthy Cathryn Bristow may still fulfil the potential that has long been recognised by many keen judges. Bristow’s best finish of the season came at the Scottish Open in August in a quality field where she finished in 17th place, and she has followed that up with top 30 finishes at most recent two tournaments, the Hero Women’s Indian Open and the Sanya Ladies Open last week in China.
Lurking in second place, just 2 shots behind Bristow is ALPG star Stacey Keating, the winner of both the 2012 French and Spanish Opens. Keating’s 2015 form has been a little patchy, but she is a class act who can never be underestimated and will be looking for a strong finish here to boost her confidence heading to the Final Stage of LPGA qualifying school in December.
A further shot back is the highest ranked player in the field, New South Welshwomen Sarah Kemp, who is coming off a top 10 finish in the Hero Women’s Indian Open and will no doubt be pushing Bristow and Keating in a bid for her tenth ALPG victory tomorrow.
One of the other stars of the day was twenty-three year old New Zealand Amateur star Munchin Keh. Keh chose not to compete in the amateur teams event but to test herself against the professionals, confirming her class shooting a 7 under par 65 playing from similar tees to the professionals.
Thirty-six professionals will be fighting it out in tomorrow’s 2nd round for their share of the NZD$40,000 prize purse on offer.
The Anita Boon pro-am is held annually in honour of former New Zealand player Anita Boon, a passionate proponent of women’s golf who passed away from ovarian cancer. With the assistance of loyal sponsors KFC and Coca-Cola, the tournament continues to raise funds for the NZ Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, which was Boon’s chosen charity.
For first round scores go to http://alpg.com.au/tournament.php?id=4170&pid=1150