College bound Brettkelly looking to claim amateur title

ACE: Dominic Brettkelly will look to win the NZ Amateur Golf Championship before taking his game to Kentucky. PHOTO CREDIT: BW MEDIA

Hororata Golf Club’s Dominic Brettkelly will go into next week’s New Zealand amateur championship at Russley with a genuine chance of stamping his mark in NZ golf history.

Brettkelly, 17, would be amongst the genuine contenders no matter where the tournament is being played. However, being at Russley Golf Club the expectations are high.

The left-handed golfer practises at the Russley course after finishing school at Christchurch Boys’ High School most days. He also won the senior club championship at Russley last year.

“It’s a massive advantage and I feel pretty confident. I’ve got a decent chance to go deep at the tournament but you can’t really think about that,” said Brettkelly.

“If I win something like the New Zealand Amateur Championship it opens a lot of doors. My world amateur golf ranking would go up and I’d get exposed to bigger tournaments.”

The future is looking bright for Brettkelly, who was introduced to golf as a four-year-old when his grandfather made him a left-handed golf club from an old cattle prod with the head of a five iron attached.

Brettkelly is all but confirmed to attend Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green next year. He will head stateside in August, giving him plenty of time to concentrate on golf after he finishes his final year at CBHS next month.

“I’ll be able to play a lot of tournaments around New Zealand for seven or eight months which will be awesome. I’ll have more time to prepare for tournaments instead of rushing away from school,” said Brettkelly.

Western Kentucky is a division one college and compete in Conference USA.

The most prominent golfing name to come out of the college is Kenny Perry, who had a successful career during the 1990s and 2000s resulting in 14 PGA Tour victories.

Next week’s amateur championship consist of 32 holes of stroke play over the first two days to decide the top 32 qualifying players.

The final 32 golfers then compete against each other in an elimination match
play format to decide a champion.

Last year Brettkelly qualified for the matchplay format at Royal Wellington Golf Club but was defeated on the 20th hole by eventual winner Louis Dobbelaar in the round of 32.

Brettkelly says the match play format can sometimes suit his game.

“I tend to be a bit erratic sometimes. If you have a triple bogey it doesn’t matter so much compared to stroke play,” said Brettkelly.

He will come into the tournament on the back of some strong results. Earlier this month he helped Canterbury win the under-19 boys’ interprovincial golf title in Cambridge.

“We lost to Otago in the final a couple of years. It was the final year for a few of us so it was great to get a win with the boys,” said Brettkelly.

He also has a few more things he’d like to tick off the list before going to college, including competing in his first New Zealand Open. A number of regional qualifying tournaments will be held in advance of the tournament in March.

“I got to the final stage of qualifying last year but didn’t quite make it,” said Brettkelly.

With his attention turning purely to golf over the summer his chances of making it will certainly be better than 12 months ago.

Although he’s based in the city for school, Brettkelly returns home to Darfield at the weekends and still plays his home course at Hororata at least once a month.

“I love it out there. The people are so nice and they’ve been really supportive and done a lot for me over the years, so I love representing the club when I play,” said Brettkelly.

He shares the course record at Hororata of 65 and is the current holder of the club’s championship title.

•The New Zealand Amateur Golf Championship runs from November 1-5.