Anstiss through to final qualifying

Queenstown golfer James Anstiss has emphatically made it past the first stage of qualifying to play for the big dough.

He now has a big four days ahead of him next week as he attempts to qualify for the Australasian Tour.

Anstiss (22) lined up in one of three opening qualifying tournaments for the Australasian Tour at the Sandhurst course in Melbourne last week.

After the first two rounds, with scores of 72 and 70, he was right on the cusp, sitting in 15th place, with only the top 15 making it through to the next stage of qualifying.

But in the final round of the three-round event, he simply went out and blew the course apart, scoring a 63 and winning the tournament.

"I was hitting the ball well in my second round but my putts were just not dropping. Then in the third round I was hitting the ball well and they still were not dropping. But then in the second half of the back nine they started dropping and I just finished it well," he said.

"I had started out right on the number. I had that opportunity back in Europe a couple of months ago and went out and just did not do anything. But I’ve been hitting the ball well and giving myself opportunities."

It was about the 10th time he had hit 63 and it was exactly the right time to do it.

"It was a typical Melbourne course. Sandy and with a bit of length but not too much. You got the reward for being accurate."

The victory, although he tied with two others, has put him through to the final qualifying tournament in Moonah Links in Victoria next week. There are about 80 entries and the top 40 will qualify, although the higher a golfer places, the more tournaments open up.

Anstiss, who returned to New Zealand this year after finishing a golf scholarship at Southeastern Louisiana University, said he was feeling good going into the four days.

"I think I have gained some confidence over the way I have been playing in the past few weeks. But that just comes back to working hard. Going out to Millbrook every day, hitting balls for hours and hours, grinding away.

"Golf is a mental game but I’m riding that confidence at the moment."

He does not have a coach as such but discusses his game with Millbrook professional Ben Gallie.

Anstiss will play a pro-am at The Hills this weekend before leaving for Melbourne and lining up for the first round on Tuesday.He said the key to performing in the four rounds was to stay consistent, get lots of pars and put the ball in a good position.

If he qualifies for the tour, his first tournament would be the New Zealand PGA,  followed by the New Zealand Open  at home in Queenstown.

Anstiss said it would be great to get out and play the New Zealand Open in his own backyard.

Add a Comment