WA pair salute in NZ

31st May 2021

They’ve been prolific at home and interstate, but now West Australian duo Kirsten Rudgeley and Hayden Hopewell have taken their winning ways across the Tasman.

As part of an Australian development team in Auckland to play against their New Zealand counterparts this week, Rudgeley and Hopewell have won the respective women’s and men’s North Shore Open titles at the weekend.

Both held off challenges from compatriots to seal victory in the 54-hole events, played across two days of 27 holes on the impressive parklands layout.

Rudgeley, runner-up at the Australian Amateur in Adelaide in February, held off Sydney’s Belinda Ji, who closed with a birdie to shoot 71 and pull within one at three under.

But the Mount Lawley member had already done enough, with rounds of 72-70-70 enough for a four-under-par total.

Kiwi Eunseo Choi closed with her own 70 to finish third at even par, while Queenslander Sarah Wilson was fourth at four over and South Australian Caitlin Pierce ninth at nine over.

Rising Queenslander Lawry Flynn pushed Hopewell hard in the men’s division, having led through 36 holes after a second-round seven-under-par 65.

But the mercurial Royal Fremantle member surged when it mattered most, drilling three birdies in his closing four holes on the beautifully prepared North Shore Country Club.

It was part of a brilliant second half of the event by Hopewell, the reigning WA Open champ, who finished at 12 under after rounds of 72-67-65.

Flynn held on for second at nine under, with fast-finishing Kiwi Cameron Harlock (-8) edging South Australian Jack Buchanan into fourth place at -5.

Queenslander Lewis Hoath and New South Welshman Harrison Crowe were T15 and 18th, respectively.

Today is a day off for the nine-strong contingent before a series of matches against a NZ development team at nearby Gulf Harbour later this week as both countries seek international experience for their emerging amateurs.