Other Munn in title contention
If any amateur knows how to beat the professionals in Charles Tour events, it is Manawatu's own Josh Munn.
He has two of them to his name and would have loved to chase a third in the LawnMaster Classic, which starts tomorrow.
"It would've been great playing a pro event around Manawatu," he said.
Munn was to play in the pro-am at Hokowhitu today but on Saturday morning he and Levin star Tyler Hodge wing off to South Africa with the New Zealand team.
But Munn isn't totally abandoning the LawnMaster.
He predicts younger brother Trent, who was fourth last year and won the national under-19 title a week back at Hamilton, might be in contention come the fourth and final day on Sunday.
"If Trent is playing well, he's pretty good around there," said Josh.
"He plays around there every day and seems pretty confident."
Trent shot 67 in practice a few days ago, while Josh is just back from what he said was his greatest triumph, winning the Great Lake MacQuarie amateur at Newcastle. He had a blinder of a final day with his 66, including 31 on the back nine.
He rates that ahead of his Charles Tour wins, at Muriwai in 2011 and Harewood (Christchurch) last year.
"This one tops the cake," he said.
"It was a full, almost world-class, international field. I hadn't really won an amateur tournament before."
He said the New Zealand events were excellent but they don't have overseas players, even if most of the professionals have all been top amateurs.
His advice to the amateurs is to go to the Charles Tour events to try to shoot course records.
He did that at Muriwai in 2011 with his record 63.
"It is good to play with the pros."
Last year's LawnMaster winner, the lowest handicapper Harry Bateman (+4.3), from Masterton via Canterbury and Royal Wellington, could shake up the pros, as could his clubmate, Brayden Mazey, Marton's Lachie McDonald who also plays at Hokowhitu, Youth Olympics bronze medallist Compton Pikari (Te Awamutu), New Zealand squad member Ryan Chisnall (Greenacres, Nelson) and Rotorua's Peter Lee, the player of the tournament at the national interprovincial.
It is not quite accurate that a professional has never won the LawnMaster. It's just that at the time, Michael Campbell and Danny Lee were amateurs.
It is a moot point about that because most top amateurs have to practise and play virtually fulltime.
The 49-man pro field tomorrow includes two-time Charles Tour winner Troy Ropiha and seasoned professional Grant Moorhead.
Other threats are Doug Holloway, Nick Gillespie and NZ Q-School winner and Masterton-Eketahuna pro-am runner-up Daniel Pearce.
The Manawatu Golf Club has got former New Zealand amateur Ben Campbell into the field, even though he lives in Melbourne and is affiliated to the Australian PGA.
The Masterton prodigy is battling back from a bone growth in his foot.
- © Fairfax NZ News