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Experienced North Harbour Golfer To Make Senior International Debut

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Experienced North Harbour Golfer To Make Senior International Debut

4 June 2009 - Thirty-Something golfer Scott Johnson will make his international debut in the senior men's New Zealand team to contest the Four Nations Cup in Canada in August.

The North Harbour policeman is joined by Auckland's Ben Wallace as the newcomers in the team to compete against Australia, Canada and Japan in the in Quebec from 5-7 August.

They will join Wellington twins Peter and Thomas Spearman-Burn, Auckland's Ryan Fox and Hawkes Bay's Daniel Pearce in the team for the biennial contest to be played at Le Club Laval-sur-le-lac.

Johnson, 32, goes against the trend of teenage golfing talent, making his breakthrough after strong domestic form over the last two years.

"New Zealand Golf has a clear and transparent selection system based on performance at key events," New Zealand Golf High Performance Manager, Simon Poll said.

"Scott is currently in the top three on our Order of Merit after consistently excellent form. Whilst age is a factor, it is not the sole consideration in this era where everyone seems to be getting younger. If players put the numbers on the board and are dedicated to excellence then it is difficult not to select them.

"It's a bonus for the team in that Scott has been a fantastic leader which has been an integral part of North Harbour's success in the last three or four years."

Johnson is delighted with his selection after years of hard work in the game.

"I'm really pleased in a lot of different ways to make the team," Johnson said. "With a lot of guys turning pro last year there's a bit of a gap and I guess I have managed to perform well in the last couple of years. To be given a chance to play is quite an honour."

Johnson, currently second on the Order of Merit, first played for New Zealand as a junior. He was in the original North Harbour side in 1994 as a 16 year old and led them to victory in the Interprovincials in 2005. He did the same this year in the SBS Invitational in Invercargill where he was golfer of the tournament and backed it by finishing third in the North Island Amateur.

Wallace 20, is a former junior international who has played well in major events this year as a quarterfinalist in the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Championships.

The Spearman-Burn twins will make their second international appearance in the same team after Thomas was a late replacement in the New Zealand side in the recent Southern Cross Cup at Wairakei. He was unbeaten in singles play in his international debut to demand selection for Canada.

His twin Peter has been the in-form player this year winning the South Island and North Island strokeplay titles, third in the New Zealand Strokeplay and a quarterfinalist in the matchplay.

Fox, 23, was also a key player in the Southern Cross Cup and was a semifinalist in the Australian Amateur while Pearce, 19, was fourth at the prestigious Riversdale Cup event in Melbourne.

New Zealand has never won the Four Nations in 11 attempts, with Australia winning nine times, with the kiwi's runners-up to their perennial rivals in the last three contests.

Each team consists of six players and competes against each other by playing alternate shot foursome matches in the morning and singles matches in the afternoon.

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