The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is an annual amateur golf tournament. It is played at various locations throughout Asia-Pacific. It is organized by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) and was first played in 2009. It was organized in conjunction with the Masters Tournament and The R&A (Royal & Ancient), organizers of The British Open Championship. The winner receives an invitation to the Masters and, along with the runner-up, gains entry to International Final Qualifying for the British Open.
It is also considered an “elite” event by the World Amateur Golf Ranking in that any player that makes the cut is eligible to be ranked. Only the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur, and European Amateur have this distinction. The winner in 2012, Guan Tianlang went on to play in the 2013 Masters Tournament and so became the youngest player in Masters history at 14.
The 2015 tournament was held at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong which is an elite, privately owned and run country club, located on the Clear Water Bay Peninsula in Sai Kung Hong Kong. Access is restricted for members only.
The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club was officially inaugurated on 16th December 1982. Although the grand vision to build this three in one facility comprising country club, golf and marina facilities actually originated in the mid 1960s, it took a decade to complete feasibility studies and file statutory applications before the vision could be realized. Finally the Club was incorporated as a non-profit making organisation in 1977. After making strenuous efforts to fulfil government stipulations, a lease was secured, and construction commenced in phases until the final completion in the early 1990s.
It was a long and arduous process transforming the barren and hilly site into today’s magnificent resort. Sometimes, the course of the Club’s early development was as rocky as the magnificent scenery that surrounds it.
They boast a prestigious membership of over 3,000 people of all nationalities. The unsurpassed scenic environment, sophisticated facilities together with their healthy finances make the Club one of the finest in the region.
Nick played in this event in 2013 when it was held at the Nanshan International Golf Club in China where he tied for 33rd. Invitations for the championship are sent to the leading players in the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation. Nick is one of six golfers invited to compete from New Zealand – his current world amateur ranking is 143.
After a rain delayed start to the tournament, Nick finally teed off at about 2pm. He hit his first shot on the par three first to about six feet and made the putt for birdie. This set the tone for the front nine where he ended up five under after nine holes. He missed a birdie putt on the ninth which would have seen him card a 29. A strong performance on the back nine saw Nick get to seven under before poor light halted play on the 17th. In fact it was pretty dark and if it wasn’t for the light coming from the scoreboard it would have been very hard to see where you were putting. Unfortunately a bogie on the 17th saw Nick’s score drop to six under where he was tied for second – the leader had finished at eight under.
There were a few groups that didn’t finish play on Day One so it was an early start on Day Two to complete those holes before Day Two play could get underway. Nick had a steady round and finished one over for the day due to a double bogey on the par five eighteenth caused by his first tee shot not quite getting across the gulley.
One hundred and twenty players started the tournament with sixty making the cut and progressing through to Day Three. Nick found his groove again and got to four under for the day by the sixteenth hole or nine under for the tournament. He had also missed two eagle opportunities on the par five fifth and on the drive-able par four seventh where he hit his tee shot to within five feet. The wind was starting to get up – there was a typhoon tracking up from the Philippines into central China and Hong Kong was forecast to be affected by it. Unfortunately Nick’s tee shot on the par three sixteenth got blown right into the bush, his second tee shot following suite. A second provisional ball found the green. The first two balls could not be found – the hand sized spiders spotted in their webs in the trees were also a bit off putting : ) A similar fate for his tee shots on the seventeenth saw the nine under cut back to even par. To his credit Nick carried himself exceptionally well and turned around and birdied the eighteenth. A disappointing finish but as Nick said ‘that’s golf”.
There was talk that Day Four may be called off due to the adverse weather conditions caused by the typhoon but Nick teed off at 7am. As soon as he teed off it seemed the wind really started to blow making it very tricky for the players to get the ball to do what they wanted it to do. The par five second runs along the coast line. The players managed to tee off and hit their second shots before the rain started – it was relentless and everyone had to get low to the ground to avoid being blown over. Not long after this three hooters sounded suspending play. The leaders hadn’t even teed off.
In the end Day Four was cancelled with the winner being the leader after Day Three – Jin Cheng from China. Jin finished on eleven under, one shot clear of Ryan Ruffels and Cameron Davis from Australia who were tied on 10 under. Ryan Ruffels was the highest ranked amateur at the tournament with a world ranking of nine. Jin Cheng was ranked twenty nine.
Nick ended up being tied for 19th. The rest of the NZ Team finished up as follows:
Tae Koh – tied for 8th
Joshua Munn – tied for 8th
Ryan Chisnall – tied for 35th
Luke Toomey – tied for 39th
Nick Coxon – didn’t make the cut
In Nick’s own words…
Hong Kong was such a great week! I had previously played at this event in China where I was somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity and prestige of the event. However, two years on and I feel like I have matured into the person and player capable of competing on the world stage.
I started the tournament off with all guns blazing! I was 5 under through 9 holes and jumped straight into second place. Stevie thought he would watch my opening tee shot and then go and get some lunch but after seeing me nearly hole my opening tee shot he decided lunch could wait! I’m glad he and Rachey did!! I ended up shooting a solid round of 64 (six under) and was definitely in the thick of things.
Having to finish my first round in the dark and get up before sunrise for my second round got the best of me, I was a little off my game and struggled to string good shots together. I settled for a second round of 71 (+1) and was 5 shots off the lead.
The third round (which later turned out to be the final round) was a stunner! I was very proud with how I bounced back from the previous day to shoot up the leaderboard the way I did. I birdied the 10th and 11th holes to get me to nine under (two shots back) and was feeling on top of the world. It was the most amazing feeling – I felt calm, patient and precise all at the same time. In the past I would have been nervous and tightened up, my couple of years of playing over in America in the college system has definitely got me accustomed to being in contention. I later ran into a bit of trouble on holes 16 and 17 but will take away far more positives with me than negatives. Such an amazing week with great people!
If you would like to read more about the tournament please check out http://www.aacgolf.com