N.Z. Open. Four-Way Tie after 1st Round.

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PGA Oz

There is a four-way tie at the top of  the New Zealand Open after the first rounds, being played on two courses, Millbrook and The Hills, on the South Island in New Zealand.

Andrew Boult, Terry Pilkadaris, Jake Stirling and Scott Strange all shot -6 under par 66, for their first rounds of the tournament. All four of these players were on the Millbrook course, the best score on The Hills course was Andrew Martin at -5 under par. Andrew shares second place with four other players.

Andrew Dodt, Australia, rigt and his caddy talk tactics. Photo / Dianne Mason.

Andrew Boult / Dianne Mason

Andrew said he was excited;

“Yeah, I am. I’m not really excited about the weather, though, and what’s to come. To get off to a good start, you feel like you’re in front of the field a bit. If the weather is pretty ordinary, a good round today makes up for that. I played four years in Europe so hopefully I go alright.”

To be honest with you I am not a fan of these competitions which play on multiple courses for the opening rounds. A change in the weather, or in New Zealand a change in the wind direction, could easily alter the way a course plays, favoring one group or another.

The best course for the New Zealand Open has always been Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, a links course which has hosted 12  N.Z. Open’s in the past. The last competition there attracted no less a player than World Number One Tiger Woods. As always money does the talking, the result was a partnership agreement between Michael Hill Tournaments Limited and the Japanese Golf Tour Organisation.

An aside;

Sir  Bob Charles, who won the event in 1954, as an 18-year-old amateur, he also won again in 1966, 1971 and 1973 and became the only New Zealander to win a major championship in the 20th century,  at the British Open. Sir Bob also  became the first left-handed golfer to win a major championship.

A few facts about Sir Bob;

• Champions Tour money leader, 1988-90
• Champions Tour scoring leader, 1988-89, 1993
• Recipient, Order of the British Empire, 1972
• Recipient, Commander of the British Empire, 1992
• Recipient, Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, 1999
• Recipient, European Seniors Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, 2002

He also knows nothing about Facebook, offering this comment when asked if they could take his picture;

“Do you mind if we take your picture for Facebook, Sir Bob?”

“Sure… what’s that?” 

Australian Amateur Championships, Lydia Ko Beaten

Australian Amateur

Lydia Ko, the Worlds Number 1 ranked amateur women’s player has been beaten in the second round of matchplay at the Australian Amateur Championships.  Lydia lost 2&1 to Aussie Jo Charlton, an unexpected result, and one which means this has been a disappointing start to the season for Lydia. It is also a worrying result for all of Lydia’s fans, especially the people of New Zealand, who thought she was invincible. Brilliant yes, but invincible, no.

I hope this defeat does not have too much of a damaging effect on the brightest star in New Zealand golf.

Australian Amateur Championships,

The 2013 Australian Amateur Championships,  presented by Audi are underway in fine and sunny conditions in Melbourne at the Commonwealth and Woodlands Golf Clubs. All players will play 36 holes Stroke Play qualifying across both courses on Tuesday and Wednesday before moving to Commonwealth for knock out Match Play from Thursday to Sunday.

On the Womens side, Australian  Minjee Lee leads after an opening round -5 under par 68  at the Woodlands Golf Club. Minjee is  a former runner-up at the Championships, and she leads qualifying by one stroke from New Zealander and World Number 1 amateur Lydia Ko and another Aussie,  Tatiana Wijaya who both shot -4 under par rounds of 69.

Victorian Grace Lennon and Kiwi Munchin Keh are tied fourth at 3-under par, with Western Australia’s Hannah Green, China’s Jing Yan and Japan’s Asuka Kashiwabara tied in sixth place after -2 under rounds of par 71.

The second round of qualifying is be contested on Wednesday.

Death on the Beach, He was Murdered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sperm Whale 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures by Me

I found this wonderful example of giant marine life lying dead on our beach at the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. I was walking the dogs, Cooper and Poppy early in the morning, when we saw this amazing animal half buried by the retreating tide. The dogs were really not interested, but I was, how could such a magnificent creature suddenly appear dead on the shoreline.

An expert from the Te Papa Museum from Wellington confirmed that is was an adult male Sperm Whale, but had no idea why or how the creature became washed up here.

I took some more pictures with my phone camera, and at the same time touched the sad remains, I knew I probably would never again in my lifetime get the chance to touch a marine leviathan. He was still warm, something I did not expect, so he surely had not been dead for long.

Sperm Whale 1Sperm Whale 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On further examination I found a puncture wound half way down his back, he had been murdered, probably harpooned.  What possesses a human being to kill such a magnificent creature. There are cultures in the World who desire to eat these wonderful creatures, Japan being the top of the list in this area. Surely the decent Governments of the World can do something to protect the giant marine life of the world, they were here long before us, and will still be here long after we are gone, they deserve some respect.

Sperm Whale 5

Sperm Whale 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you look closely you can see the deadly puncture wound,left,  and opposite the sadly closed eye. He beached himself and died in agony.

Shame on you, the whale hunters, killers of innocent victims.

 

Lydia Ko, 2013 Season Starts at Australia Amateur Championships.

Lydia Ko / Canadian Open Trophy with Royal Canadian Mounties /cbssports.com

Lydia Ko the New Zealand World Number One Amateur player, and winner of last years LPGA Tour Canadian Open, starts her 2013 season off at the Australia Amateur Championships, in Melbourne tomorrow. Lydia is the defending Champion.

The 15-year-old New Zealand sportswoman of the year candidate, and world’s leading female amateur, has not played a tournament since the Swinging Skirts Ladies World Masters in Taipei early last December. But according to her coach, Guy Wilson, the director of instruction at the New Zealand Institute of Golf, Lydia has been hard at it and not relaxing too much;

” The only reason she got a day off on Christmas Day was because the courses were closed. She had New Year’s Day off as well, otherwise there’s been no real relaxing, it’s been eight hours a day, seven days a week.”

Lydia has received funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand, it amounts to $230,000 NZ over the next two years. This cash injection makes it easier for her to participate in some of the  prestigious tournaments in the United States and Europe. Coach Wilson is delighted;

“She will play in all the Majors this year.”

He also stated that Lydia was looking forward to the challenges this year, and remaining the Ladies World Number One Amateur, but importantly continuing her education at her chosen college in the United States;

“It’s all important for her to continue to be the world No.1 amateur and have really good finishes so when she does turn pro she is as marketable as she is now. The good thing is she’s playing in a lot more events with real profile, which should help her as well.” 

Good Luck Lydia, we will be watching you !!!

 

Sony Open, Rookies Rule The Roost, Tied at the Top

 

Russell Henley of the U.S. (L) practices his putt swing as Scott Langley waits to putt on the 18th green during the third round of the Sony Open golf tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

 Russell Henley and Scott Langley / Hugh Gentry Reuters

The two first year rookies, Russell Henley and Scott Langley are tied at the top of the leaderboard of the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, at the conclusion of the third round on Saturday. They share the lead at -17 under par, a three shot lead over Tim Clark who is alone in third place, at -14 under par.

Russell  fired a three-under-par 67 third round, while Scott carded a 65, to level the scores for the tournament for these two friends.

Apart from leading the tournament the pair now share the course lowest 54 hole record, at 193. Russell is still amazed at the experience he and Scott are enjoying;

“A month ago I was at orientation, and Scott just done with Q-School, and I gave him a ride to the airport. We had lunch and I was telling him how awesome it was I was on the PGA Tour. This is kind like a dream, it’s weird. It’s like I’m not awake, very weird. Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to learn from it. I’ve played great golf and I feel like I can compete out here. Win this tournament or not, it’s already been a very successful week.”

Scott was calculating the odds on him winning, and is happy the pair will together again tomorrow for the final round;

” The Vegas odds on me winning were probably not very good, I hope somebody bet on me and I make him a lot of money. I never imagined that, it’s certainly odd, but you know, if there was a guy in the field that I would love to do it with, it would be Russell because we play pretty similar games, and we’re kind of the same guy on the course. We play pretty quickly and pretty easy going, kind of feel our way around, not too technical. So there are a lot of guys that I enjoy playing with, but Russell is definitely one of them.”

A victory for either player on Sunday would emulate the achievement of fellow American Garrett Willis, who was the most recent rookie to win on his debut as a PGA Tour member, at the 2001 Tucson Open.

Tim Clark is happy with his golfing progress since coming back from injury, he would love to win this tournament, but is sure neither of the rookies will be worried about leading;

“I’m sure they won’t be too intimidated, that’s going to be fun to see them play. There’s all these young guys coming out these days, and they’re ready to go right from the start. So it’s going to be a fun battle.”

There are two players tied in fourth place at -13 under par, Scott Gardiner and Charles Howell 111, or Chucky three sticks, as he is known as on the Tour. At four shots back these guys must still feel they are in with a shout.

At -12 under par are a host of players, most notably for us in New Zealand, one of them is Danny Lee. It is good to see the Kiwi contesting on the final day. But as I said yesterday, if  Russell and Scott are paired together for the last round, one of them will be the winner.

Wind the Winner at Kapalua

 

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Maui. Hawaii was forced to cancel the first round on Saturday, due to high winds.  PGA TOUR officials hope to get in 36 holes Sunday, and play 18 on Monday’s final day, declaring a champion after 54 holes.

Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and operations explained;

“We got balls rolling all over the green, so we have canceled play for the day.”

It was the same story on Friday, the opening round was wiped out with the first group through eight holes. Three groups did not tee off after an official saw Carl Pettersson’s 40-foot putt on the second green get blown 30 feet past the hole and off the green.

Slugger added;

” Forecast for tomorrow is a little better, 15- to 25-mph with gusts, maybe, to 30. A little less moisture, more like pineapple showers than these downpours that we have had.”

Brandt Snedeker has not played an official shot for 2013, he is playing in the final group alongside defending champion Steve Stricker ,and they did not tee off Friday. Brandt said he was happy with the officials’ decision;

“Yeah, they did do the right thing, it’s just a little too windy out there for us to play.  If the course wasn’t so exposed, it wouldn’t be a problem, but you have a lot of greens exposed to 40-mile-an-hour wind gusts. It’s tough to make that call, they did the right thing. We had to try to play today if we wanted to try to get 72 holes in. Unfortunately a short day, but hopefully get out tomorrow and get some golf.”

Hunter Mahan reported that the 30 players were trying to take the delays in stride;

“It’s difficult, we are in such a cool place and we can’t really do much. It’s strange when you go down the road 10 minutes or 15, 20 minutes and it’s great, it looks beautiful over there but for some reason right here, it’s tough. It’s difficult to figure out if you want to go hit balls right now or wait till later or what you want to do. I think we all are trying to figure out what to do and what’s the best plan for us to get ready for the next two days or three days.”

I can sympathize with those guys, I understand what it is like with those winds. Here at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Course, in New Zealand, the winds have been blowing pretty constantly for a couple of months, playing to your handicap recently has been a rarity.

See you Sunday

Kapalua / Getty Images