Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship heading to Wellington in 2017

AUSTRALIAN GOLF DIGEST - December edition

By Denise Langdon (PaR nz Golfing Holidays)

NEW ZEALAND golf is buzzing that the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship will be held at the Royal Wellington Golf Club in 2017. Kiwis are hopeful a home ground advantage – and the chance to play in The Masters – will produce the country’s first winner of this prestigious amateur tournament.

A year after the 2016 event is staged at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in South Korea – site of this year’s Presidents Cup – the 2017 event will attract leading amateurs from 39 Asia Pacific nations competing for a trip to Augusta on a superb layout in New Zealand’s capital.

The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) began in 2009. Jin Cheng of China won this year's tournament at the beautiful Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club in Hong Kong, which was suspended after three rounds due to high winds and rainfall.

Royal Wellington’s turn will come on October 23-27, 2017, when member countries are invited to enter two of their highest ranked amateurs, with the remaining spots filled by their next best.

There is a maximum of six golfers from any one country. No Kiwi has won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship – Peter Spearman-Burn achieving our best placing with a share of third in the inaugural event. Not only does the champion secure a trip to The Masters, but the winner and runner-up are also invited to the British Open.

Royal Wellington has plenty of work to be done before 2017, but will enjoy the support from the confederation, which includes representatives from Augusta National Golf Club and the R&A. The Augusta representative is expected to be in Wellington at least 12 months prior to the event due to the considerable planning and organisation required to stage such an important event.

The golf course recently completed an extensive, $7 million renovation, with design by partners Greg Turner and Scott McPherson. Its proud heritage includes hosting the New Zealand Open seven times, including the 1954 Open – which Sir Bob Charles won as an 18-year-old amateur.