Cathryn Bristow shapes as New Zealand’s best chance of breaking Australia’s four-year stranglehold n the Anita Boon Pro-Am when the eighth edition of the event gets underway on Thursday, November 17 at North Shore Golf Club.
Not since Caroline Bon’s back-to-back wins in 2010-11 has a Kiwi prevailed in the two-day tournament, which is named in the honour of the late Anita Boon, a professional golfer who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2009, aged 36.
But Ladies European Tour stalwart Bristow, who finished runner-up to Victoria’s Stacey Keating last year, will look to capitalise on the dual motivation of restoring national pride and kick-starting her Australasian summer campaign in winning style in the $40,000 event.
The 31-year-old is the highest-ranked player in the field for the 2016 Anita Boon Pro-Am, the first event of the 2016/17 Australian Ladies Professional Golf season. Bristow won NSW-hosted ALPG Tour tournaments Mulpha Norwest Ladies Pro-Am and North Shore Ladies Pro-Am in January.
The Trans-Tasman Trophy, inaugurated last year, will also be on the line, with naming rights – ‘jandal’ or ‘thong’ – accompanying the silverware.
A quality 22-strong Australian contingent will be determined to ensure the trophy remains on their side of the ditch, however, including Adriana Brent, Grace Lennon, Elmay Viking and 2012 winner Katelyn Must.
The increasing number of Australian golfers participating in the Anita Boon Pro-Am – the most lucrative tournament of the ALPG Pro-Am 2016/17 series – has added to the depth and prestige of the event, which has been co-sanctioned by New Zealand Professional Women Golfers and Australia Ladies Professional Golf since 2013.
Bristow also faces stiff competition from her compatriots, in particular young gun Liv Cheng and fellow Aucklander Phillis Meti.
The 22-year-old Cheng, the 2015 and ’16 recipient of the KFC Golf Scholarship, is coming off her second full season on the Symetra Tour, which included a pair of 11th-place finishes. She came equal-sixth in the 2015 Anita Boon Pro-Am.
Meti, 29, recently won the Womens World Long Drive Championship in Oklahoma for the second time in her career. A professional since 2009, Meti also took out the event in 2006 before runner-up finishes in ’07-08, and her length off the tee will provide her with an advantage over most of her competitors at North Shore Golf Club.
The Anita Boon Pro-Am provides playing opportunities for Kiwi professionals as they prepare for major tournaments in Australasia throughout the summer and stints at tour schools, while offering amateur golfers with the unique chance to play alongside the rising stars of women’s golf. But the primary purpose of the event is to raise funds for NZPWG’s two elected charities: the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation and the KFC Golf Scholarship.
The tournament raised $12,000 for the NZGCF last year.
“Anita was both a wonderful person and a fine golfer, and this is the very least that we can all do to honour her memory and ensure that her legacy continues,” said ALPG CEO Karen Lunn.
Scores can be found from Thursday at www.alpg.com.au
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