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 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.
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?”