top of page

Turnbull, Choi win NZ Stroke Play titles

Robby Turnbull and Eunseo Choi
Robby Turnbull and Eunseo Choi have won the 2024 New Zealand Stroke Play Championships. PHOTO: GOLF NZ

Robby Turnbull and Eunseo Choi have won the 2024 New Zealand Stroke Play Championships, capturing the biggest titles of their young careers.

The two 17-year-olds conquered the 156-player field at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, winning their first national titles in equally impressive fashion.

Conditions could not have been better for the final day, with a light southerly breeze sweeping the links, setting up ideal scoring conditions for the leaders and the chasing pack.

Remuera Golf Club’s Turnbull began the final round a shot behind Manawatu’s Tyler Hodge, who led at 16-under.

After shooting 66, 64, and 68 in the first three rounds, Turnbull trailed for most of the front-nine after opening with six pars, a birdie at seven, before disaster struck at nine, where he recorded a double-bogey after hitting his second into the penalty area.

Turnbull showed maturity beyond his age, regathering himself early on the back-nine by bouncing back with a birdie at 10. He proceeded to make a clutch birdie on the 15th to get within a shot of Hodge and tied the lead on the very next hole with a solid par.

He bombed his drive on the 18th, found the green, and two-putted for birdie, putting immense pressure on Hodge, who slid his birdie putt by.

With the victory slowly sinking in, Turnbull said it was hard to describe how it felt to have won his first national title.

“I’m speechless. After my double on nine, I knew I needed to make a few birdies to get myself back in it. That’s exactly what I did and I was lucky enough to come through with the win.

“It means a lot to me. After last week, I had a lot of confidence coming into this week, and all my hard work has paid off. I’m very happy.”

Turnbull was part of the Auckland Interprovincial team, which won at the same venue at the end of last year. He pretended he was playing matchplay against Hodge late in the back-nine when it became clear that it was a two-horse race.

“I was feeding off Tyler quite a lot. I was playing a bit of match play against him and made sure I was hitting good shots on top of him.”

Hodge finished as the leading professional with his fifth runner-up in a Charles Tour event since 2016. Jayden Ford finished in third and won the silver medal for finishing as the second amateur, alongside Kieran Muir at 13-under.

Mitchell Kale and Brodie Ferguson earned the bronze medal for finishing equal third amateurs.

In the women’s event, Choi also showed maturity beyond her years to capture the New Zealand Women’s Stroke Play title by two strokes over the reigning New Zealand Amateur champion Faith Vui.

She overcame a dismal opening round of 78 with a course record-equalling seven-under-64 in round two, which included a hole-in-one on the iconic par-three fifth, establishing a four-shot lead with two rounds to play.

After a third round of even-par, she retained her four-shot buffer heading into Sunday's final round. However, her lead quickly became a shot after a challenging start, where she double-bogeyed the third and bogeyed the fourth.

Like Turnbull, she quickly regathered herself, making birdies at seven, 10, and 12 to extend her lead to three strokes with a handful of holes to play. Choi’s lead became two following a bogey at the 13th , but played her remaining holes in even to get the job done.

The Takapuna Golf Club member said it was great to add her name to the New Zealand golfing history books.

“It’s amazing to have a New Zealand title on my record now. I saw Vivian’s [Lu] name on the trophy twice, so it’s nice to win one as well after losing to her quite a lot,” she laughs. “It’s great to have followed in the footsteps of all the great players who have won this event in the past.

“I’ve had a great start to the year and I hope this will keep the momentum and my flow going.”

Choi now shifts her focus to next week’s Queen Sirikit Cup, where she will wear the silver fern against 36 of Asia-Pacific’s best amateur women at Clearwater Golf Club, near Christchurch.

“This gives me a lot of confidence and proves that I am one of the best players in New Zealand – I’m part of the New Zealand team and the Golf New Zealand National Academy. I now know that despite any future form slumps, I have the game to perform at a high level.

“I’ll be sweet to go next week. I have a few things to touch up, but I feel ready for the Queen Sirikit Cup. Hopefully, I can help the New Zealand team to a historic win.”

The New Zealand Amateur champion Vui took the silver medal, with Pupuke’s Amy Im taking the bronze medal for finishing at four-over, a shot behind.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page