Warwick Golf Club Head Professional Sam Eaves has continued a pre-qualifying streak that has this week secured him a place in the field at the 101st New Zealand Open, presented by Sky Sport.
Eaves shot a seven-under par 64 to lead all scorers in the final qualifying event held at the Caboolture Golf Club in Queensland on Monday.
The former full-time ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia competitor finished tied for 23rd in his last attempt at the NZ Open title in 2015 and will relish the opportunity to return to the top ranks of golf.
“It feels awesome to qualify,” said Eaves, who has played the tournament three times in his career.
“I can’t believe I’ve qualified for another event and also have the opportunity to play the New Zealand Open again. It would have to be my favourite place to play golf.”
Tour professional Michael Wright finished one shot behind Eaves with fellow Queenslander Jack Munro, who has played on the Asian Tour and European Challenge Tour, shooting a five-under 66 to claim the final spot.
The trio will be making a hasty flight across the Tasman to prepare for the 101st New Zealand Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills starting on Thursday.
At Cromwell Golf Club in New Zealand three amateurs have prevailed from 53 golfers at the final qualifying tournament for the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
Two highly promising young amateurs, Auckland teenager Jimmy Zheng and Christchurch’s Matthew McLean will realise their dream, while experienced Wellington course superintendent, Adam Church will play in his second New Zealand Open.
Zheng and Church both fired six-under par 66s while McLean was the final player to finish, shooting a four-under 68 to snatch the third and final spot up for grabs at the Cromwell Golf Club today.
There were six players tied on three-under 69 waiting for a playoff until McLean charged home to edge them by one shot.
Zheng, 18, from the Howick club was one-under par through nine holes today before firing five birdies on the second nine in his 66. The Youth Olympian is one of the most promising young amateurs in the country.
Joining him is the 38-year-old Church, who played in the New Zealand Open at the Hills in 2009, but had not contemplated entering the qualifying this year.
“My wife entered me and I played well enough in regional qualifying to make it to final today. I played really well today and this is pretty exciting,” said Church.
“With my job and my family I don’t get much time to actually play golf. So this is a real bonus and I am excited.”
Leading Scores Final Qualifying, Cromwell Golf Club, P designates Professional, Par 72, 3 to qualify:
66 Jimmy Zheng (Howick), Adam Church (Judgeford)
68 Matthew McLean (Harewood)
69 Callum Judkins (Otago), Jayden Ford (Judgeford), Lachie McDonald (P, Marton), Victor Janin (P, Rotorua), James Hydes (Gulf Harbour), Jesper Bengtsson (Noth Shore)
70 Mark Hutson (P, Unattached), Yongiu Kin (Whitford Park), Richard Lee (P, NZL) Charlie Smail (Walton), Jordan Woodall (Cambridge).
Leading Scores, Final Qualifying, Caboolture GC, Queensland, all professionals, Par 71, 3 to qualify:
64 Samuel Eves (Queensland)
65 Michael Wright (Queensland)
66 Jack Munro (Queensland)
67 Aaron Wilkin (Queensland), Charlie Dann (Queensland)
68 Chang Gi Lee (Korea), Jihoon Kim (Korea), Peter Martin (Queensland), Austin Bautista (NSW), Douglas Klein (Queensland), Jordan Mullaney (NSW)
69 Lloyd Radcliffe (NSW), Anthony Choat (South Australia).