Southland’s top golfers of 2020 have been recognised and celebrated tonight (Wednesday 24 February) at the Southland Golfer of the Year presentations.
The awards recognised Southland’s top male, female and junior golfers, and once again reflected the outstanding golfing talent that exists in the far south.
While 2020 saw a number of disruptions to the golfing calendar, particularly at a national level, there were still many highlights locally.
Matt Tautari won the Southland Men’s Golfer of the Year after winning a number of key events including the Otago and Southland Matchplay Championships and the Central Districts Championships. Tautari also represented Southland at the South Island Interprovincial, which the team won, and was the number one player in the Southland team that finished eighth at the New Zealand Interprovincial. He also finished seventh at the South Island Strokeplay Championships.
For the fifth consecutive year Robyn Boniface won the Southland Women’s Golfer of the Year. Among the titles she picked up over the year were the Southland 54-hole Strokeplay, the Western District Championships, the Stead Cup and the Wyndham 27-hole tournament. This is the eighth time Boniface has been named the Southland Women’s Golfer of the Year.
George Prendergast has continued his impressive rise through the junior golf ranks, and took out the Junior Golfer of the Year award. In 2020 Prendergast represented Southland’s senior team against Otago, was reserve for the team that won the South Island Interprovincial, won the intermediate section of the Southland Matchplay Championships and won the Southland Junior Strokeplay title.
Kevin Bang was the Most Improved Junior, having made huge improvements in his handicap and impressing in local competitions and tournaments.
Golf Southland Chair Phil McDonald said the Golfer of the Year Awards acknowledged the talent of golfers in the south and while 2020 was disruptive, it was pleasing to see golf thrive throughout it all.
“The Golfer of the Year Awards don’t just reflect those who consistently compete to a very high standard, although that is an important part of it, but they also acknowledge those golfers who choose to support local tournaments,” he said.
“It’s always a good chance to celebrate those who are at the top of their game and to recognise some really impressive achievements and this year’s awards presentation highlights those.”