Success both on and off the golf course was celebrated on Wednesday 12 February, with the Southland Golfer of the Year presentations.
The Golfer of the Year presentations, which recognised Southland’s top female, male and junior golfers, highlighted a positive 2019 year for Southland players, which included historic national titles.
Robyn Boniface was the winner of the Women’s Golfer of the Year, after yet another outstanding year on course. Among highlights, her year was bookended by winning the 2019 New Zealand Women’s Senior Championships in February for the fifth time, and by winning her 19th Stead Cup title in November. Boniface has also been named captain of the New Zealand women’s team to compete against Australia later this month.
An historic year on the golf course for Liam Hewitt earned him the right to have his name etched on two trophies – the Men’s Golfer of the Year and the Junior Golfer of the Year. 2019 will go down in the history books for Hewitt, who became the first Southlander in 40 years to win the New Zealand Age Group Championships and he will be challenging Southland senior players in 2020 for the No 1 spot.
The Most Improved Junior went to George Prendergast (Te Anau) for the second year, who had another fantastic year and continued to go from strength to strength with his handicap index now 2.6.
The off-course services of Janet Anderson were also recognized; with the Winton golfer awarded a Services to Golf Award. Anderson has played numerous roles at the Winton Golf Club, including Deputy Club Captain, Club Captain and Ladies Handicapper. She has been instrumental in coordinating coaching at all levels in the club and has put many hours into junior golf in the Central Southland area.
Passionate about getting more females playing golf, the ladies membership at Winton has greatly benefited from her impact and her on-course support of new and potential members.
Golf Southland spokesperson John Griffin said the success Southlanders had achieved in 2019 was remarkable.
“To have two Southland golfers earn national titles last year really shows the talent that exists here,” he said.
“It’s great to see Robyn’s longevity at the high performance level of the game, and her continued success at this level shows a life time of dedication and enthusiasm for the game.
I’m equally sure Liam’s outstanding success at age group level will motivate him to keep putting in the hours to take his game to the next level – he has an extremely bright future ahead of him.”
“George, too, has had another great year. And to see the impact Janet has had on the Winton club in what has been a relatively short period of time is really heartening and so encouraging for the future of the game in Southland clubs”