Eagles golfers honour rising star

Amelia Garvey, Eagles Golfing Society player of the year 2017, with national president Tom Whitaker in Blenheim at the ...

Amelia Garvey, Eagles Golfing Society player of the year 2017, with national president Tom Whitaker in Blenheim at the national convention.

Rising golf star Amelia Garvey was named the Eagles Golfing Society of New Zealand's player of the year when the 53rd annual convention was staged in Marlborough last week.

The 16 year-old Canterbury number one followed in some distinguished footsteps, including Stuart Jones, Bob Charles, Danny Lee, Tim Wilkinson and Lydia Ko, when she picked up the award following a glittering dinner at the Marlborough Convention Centre on Tuesday evening.

The awards evening was the culmination of a highly-successful gathering of 240 Eagles Society members and their partners in Marlborough from Sunday until Wednesday.

Tom Whitaker, from Christchurch, is the national president of the Eagles Society. He explained that the Player of the Year award was first presented in 1967, when Jones won, and is awarded to the under-17 golfer who has turned in the best performances over a 12-month period. 

Golfers are nominated by their provinces with the Eagles' executives making the final decision.

Whitaker has known Garvey since she was six and described her as an outstanding young player and a worthy winner.

She is one of the rising stars of New Zealand amateur golf. Apart from being a highly-successful number one for the Canterbury team at interprovincial level, she is also the winner of a professional tournament. She took out the Autex Muriwai Open on the Bob Charles tour in April 2016, thus becoming the second youngest NZ female player after Ko to win a professional tournament, aged 15 years and 325 days.  

Last month the NZ junior representative won the South Island women's strokeplay championship.

She showcased her burgeoning talent with a superb round at the Marlborough Golf Club on Tuesday. Playing alongside members of the Eagles executive, Garvey shot 75 gross off the men's white tees, carding the best score by a woman from those tees.

Garvey described winning the award as "awesome".

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"It is cool to see all the prestigious names on the trophy … Lydia Ko has been on there three times."

She played twice during her time in Marlborough, at Fairhall and Rarangi, and relished the diversity of the two venues. "They were really nice to play and had a mixture of scenery … Fairhall near the winery and hills, Rarangi by the sea. The courses were good."

Whitaker described the Marborough-based conference as "absolutely fabulous".

"The facilities were the best that I have encountered anywhere on an Eagles convention … and the people that run the venues went out of their way to make it easier for us, especially Fairweathers Bar who provided food and tremendous support.

"The highlight of this convention was the region, and everything it had to offer. From Peter Jackson's show at Omaka, to the vineyards, the golf courses to the fishing, visiting Havelock … [the members] were absolutely chuffed."

It was only the second time the annual conference had been held in Marlborough and was the culmination of two years of hard work, said Trish Hildyard, a member of the local organising committee.

"We had 361 people from all over NZ, who had an amazing time in Marlborough and left feeling great about our province," she said.

A major part of the Eagles doctrine is raising money for their main charity, the Halberg Trust. "We are only a couple of hundred thousand off giving the Trust five million dollars," said Hildyard. "It is huge what they do."

 - Stuff

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