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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?” 

Michael Hendry NZ PGA Championship winner

Kiwi Michael Hendry won the NZ PGA Championship Pro-Am at The Hills Golf Club in Queenstown, after surviving a scare at the par three 16th, where he  struggled to make seven on the par 3 hole. Michael had previously worried about the hole, and his concerns proved to be accurate, he said of the hole;

“Quite literally, the only hole I had any worries about was the 16th and, obviously, that proved to be accurate. I can’t really describe it, the ups and downs of the day. It’s going to take a couple of days to appreciate what I’ve achieved here today. Such a high all the way to the 16th, then such a low and I managed to pick myself up at the 17th.”

 

Michael HendryGetty Images

Michael trailed Australian Andrew Martin by two shots at the start of the day, and had built a three shot lead over Andrew with four holes left to play, then suddenly saw his hopes ruined by the quadruple bogey on the par 3 16th and fell a shot behind Andrew. A birdie on his next hole, the 17th got Michael back up to a tie for first and then Andrew, who finished a joint runner-up at the Queensland PGA two weeks ago, dropped a shot on the same hole to hand the advantage to the New Zealander. The Kiwi made the most of the opportunity, a solid par on the final hole helping him claim the title and the $81,000 winner’s cheque.

Michael added;

“It’s a mental game, and people talk about that all the time and it’s so true. I definitely felt like being a New Zealander gave me an advantage today. Just hearing people saying “come on Kiwi, you can do it, it’s fantastic. Maybe that had a little bit to do with the win today ,the relaxed atmosphere. Playing with a good friend. Probably took my mind off the game a little bit.”

 

 

 

 

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