February 6, 2024
Fresh name to be added to New Zealand Seniors title

A fresh name will be etched onto the New Zealand Men’s Seniors Championship trophy, with six-time champion Brent Paterson absent from this year’s event in Hawke’s Bay.

The four-time defending champion will not tee it up at Hawke’s Bay and Hastings Golf Clubs on February 8 - 10 as he is attending his son’s wedding. Paterson’s name has dominated the trophy in recent years following victories in 2013, 2017, and 2020 through 2023, and his absence leaves a huge opportunity for the 30 internationals and Kiwi favourites to write their names in New Zealand seniors golfing history.

A record field of 240 senior golfers representing 75 golf clubs and seven countries will contest the championship over 54 holes, with all golfers playing both courses over the first two rounds. The leading 160 players will play at Hastings Golf Club on the final day, while the balance will play at Hawke’s Bay Golf Club.

Among the pre-tournament favourites is 2018 and 2019 champion Stuart Duff. His last title came at this year’s venue, his home course, five years ago, and is expected to contend come the final round on Saturday.

Another hometown favourite, Mike Trass, is sure to feature on this year’s leaderboard. Trass is new to the senior’s game, having turned 50 recently, and is the current Hastings club champion after beating Duff in the final. He’s also recently represented Hawke’s Bay at both the Freyberg Masters and New Zealand Men’s Interprovincial.

New Zealand senior representatives Tony Chettleburgh, Craig Newman, and Tam Slaven will have a strong chance of etching their names on a national trophy for the first time, as well as sharpening their games for their upcoming test match against Australia at Taupo Golf Club the following week.

Michael Clegg possesses the tournament’s lowest handicap, playing off a +3.1. He’s been playing consistently well all summer.

However, the internationals pose a huge threat to the Kiwi's chances. 2023 Asia-Pacific Seniors champion James Lavender has made the trip across the Tasman alongside his fellow Australians David Bagust and Graham Hourn before the Bledisloe clash.

Englishman Stephen Jensen will also be a name to watch from the Australian, Canadian, English, Japanese, and American contingent.

The tournament is synonymous for its friendly competition and camaraderie between the players, and the 2024 event will be no different.

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