OUT: Belmont’s Chloe Pearce is one of the big Hunter omissions from the Lake Macquarie Ladies Amateur. Picture: Phil Hearne.
FOR the first time in recent memory there will be no Hunter representatives in the Lake Macquarie Ladies Amateur at Belmont next week.
Due the men’s and women’s tournaments being held concurrently for the first time in the event’s history, it has caused the ladies division to be restricted to 48 entries.
Organisers have been surprisedby the strength of the entries, which include Victorian Amateur champion Hannah Green and top-two ranked n juniors Celina Yuan and Karis Davidson.
An unfortunate result of this high-calibre field has been the exclusion of Hunter amateurs as qualification was set at a handicap of 3.3.
“We did have a couple of entries, but we had to cull them both,” Belmont president Lyn Cooper said.
“It’s very disappointing, but because of the quality of girls trying to get in it’s kept our locals out, because the standards are too high.”
Madison Boyd (The Vintage), Chloe Pearce, Layne Flannery (Belmont) andDeirdre Brander (Newcastle) played last year.
Belmont’s Aliza Huff challenged for the title in 2013 and 2014 when she finished fourth and 10th, but she has since joined the professional ranks.
Cooper, who last year became the Newcastle district’s first female club president,hopes the disappointment of missing the Lake Macquarie Amateur fuels the region’s leading women to improve.
“Hopefully we’ve got a few more coming through and this might inspire them a bit more,” she said.“At this stage they just need to prove they’re a little bit better.”
Pearce said she had wanted to enter, but had only recently returned to golfafter taking a break to concentrate onfinishing her HSClast year.
The 18-year-old plans to move to the US in August to take up a college golfscholarship and study business or law.
“I just sat the SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Test),” Pearce said.
“I went well enough to get into college. I’ve had a few offers, but haven’t made my decision yet.”
Meanwhile, Blake Windred is expected to lead the Hunter charge to crown the first home-grown men’s champion sinceWaratah’sRay Carlin in 1978.
The Charlestown 18-year-old will be amonga field of 100 on Sunday at the Lake Macquarie Amateur qualifier fighting for 65 spots in the main draw, which begins the following Thursday.