Lucrative purse on offer in Auckland for women’s golf professionals
The best women golfers on both sides of the Tasman have the opportunity to vie for a lucrative prize purse in Auckland in November.
The New Zealand Professional Women Golfers (NZPWG), hoping to inspire more golfers to follow in the footsteps of Lydia Ko, have confirmed that the annual Anita Boon Pro-Am will be co-sanctioned with the Australia Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) Tour for a second year and offer an attractive NZ$40,000 prize purse.
With continued support from the major sponsors KFC and Coca-Cola, the tournament, in its sixth year, will be hosted at the North Shore Golf Club on 13 and 14 November for the 36-hole pro-am event.
It will be an official ALPG Order of Merit event that offers aspiring professionals an opportunity to earn points to better their chances to play in the major summer events in Australia, and the New Zealand Women’s Open. It remains only the second ALPG Tour event in this country alongside the New Zealand Women’s Open.
Last year former LPGA professional Karen Pearce won the inaugural ALPG co-sanctioned event, with Australian professionals making up half of the field for the pro-am event.
Tournament organisers believe the quality of the field will increase after a successful co-sanctioned event last year.
“Our initial aim is to provide a real incentive for New Zealand professionals as well as provide opportunity for our best young amateurs to experience the game at the professional level,” said NZPWG spokesperson Liz McKinnon, a former European Tour professional.
“We’ve worked hard to make this an excellent tournament and fully expect with the prizemoney on offer, that we will attract a stronger professional field.
“Equally we are keen to promote our women’s game at all levels. Our pro-am format allows all golfers – men and women – the chance to enjoy a fun day out and the experience of playing alongside our professionals.”
The event was established in 2009 as the first all women’s pro-am in this country in memory of former New Zealand representative Anita Boon who passed away from ovarian cancer.
“Anita continues to inspire us to improve this tournament and we are blessed to have the continued support from Restaurant Brands (KFC) along with Coca-Cola Amatil NZ who share our passion for this event.”
ALPG Executive Director Karen Lunn said her organisation is fully supportive.
“The ALPG is delighted to once again be involved as a sanctioning partner for the 2014 Anita Boon Pro-Am.
“While I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Anita, I know how much of an impact her loss had on the golfing community in New Zealand and it is fantastic that the NZPWG run this event named in Anita’s honour.
“We thank the major sponsors Coca-Cola and KFC for their continued support of this event, to have these major brands supporting women’s golf is a huge plus for everyone involved.”
The event will be played as an open Pro-Am event over the two days with one female professional with three amateurs. The amateur field is mixed with men and women able to play one or both days.
Commercial organisations and individuals are invited to enter the strictly limited number of spots in the field.
The format and status of the event have made it a favourite among players, including the likes of Australian Vicky Thomas who has been regularly in contention in the tournament.
“The Anita Boon is a special golf event. I love coming to play as I played with Anita during my amateur days and want to do my bit to continue her legacy. Also, it is always wonderful to catch up with all my kiwi golfing friends and have the opportunity to play a fantastic golf course in North Shore.”
Tournament organisers are already in contact with several professionals and expect to make announcements on players in the coming weeks.
The tournament will again help fund the $10,000 NZPWG Golf Scholarship, with this year’s recipient Caroline Bon from Northland utilising the grant to assist further her development on to the Asian Tour where she is currently plying her trade.
The tournament will also raise funds for NZ Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, which was Boon’s chosen charity.