ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Michael Hendry Wins Play-Off.

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Kiwi Michael Hendry is the first NZ Player to win the  New Zealand Open for 14 years. He won in a play-off against another Kiwi, Ben Campbell and Australian and Ex NZ Champion Brad Kennedy.

New Zealand Open

Michael was happy that a Kiwi has finally won the Brodie Breeze Trophy with a par at the first extra hole, after Ben and Brad both found water off the tee.

Michael shot a final round -2 under par 69 to get into  play-off against 54 hole leader at -20 under, and starting with a three shot lead Ben Campbell, who carded +1 over par today and Brad Kennedy with an even par 71 last round, all three with ISPS Handa New Zealand Open totals of -19 under par.

“It means the world to me, this is for me, other than winning a major, the biggest tournament that I can win.”

“Just to finally get that monkey off our back with a Kiwi winning. I’ve never been that emotional coming off a golf course before. It was very, very special.”

“My game plan today was hit every green that I could and get every putt to the hole, and I achieved my game plan pretty well.”

Tied in fourth place was Aussie Deyen Lawson at -18 under par, a final round -3 under 69 not quite good enough to get into the play-off.

ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Kiwi Campbell Cruzin.

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Kiwi Ben Campbell is cruizin at the top of the ISPS New Zealand Open leaderboard after 54 holes.

New Zealand Open

Ben Campbell / getty

Ben carded a third round -5 under par 66 to lead the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open at -20 under par, and will take a one shot lead into the final round tomorrow. An Eagle at the 17th saw him pull away, and he hopes to hole more putts tomorrow;

“I didn’t have my A-game today but managed to get a good score on the board. I have talked to my coach about doing ugly well.”

“My caddy told me to be patient. I holed some good par putts to keep the momentum going and went for it on 17 with that eagle.”

“There is a lot of golf to be played and it could be bad weather. I have to stay patient. “

“Something can happen on a course like this. But I will hit the ball, go and find it and hopefully hole some putts.”

Aussie Brad Kennedy is hot in pursuit, a third round -3 under par 68 to claim second place on his own at -19 under;

“It was one of those days when I felt I was in control for most of the day.”

“It is the first time we have seen pins here on a Saturday and there were a couple of tough ones today. It was a positive day and I can start chasing now.”

“There are some guys behind who can shoot low so I know I need to play well, stay aggressive and do my best to chase down Ben who holed everything today.”

Sharing third place at -17 under are another Kiwi Michael Hendry -4 under 67 today and Aussie Dimitrios Papadatos, -5 under 66.

Dimitrios has high hopes for success;

“I have already won one tournament this year, at the Oates Vic Open, so there is no reason why I can’t make it two.”

Michael stayed patient, and capitalised on his chances;

 “It was pretty ordinary, to be honest. I just kept telling myself to stay patient and hopefully I’d capitalise on some opportunities coming in and I did.”

Low round of the day went to Ryan Fox, New Zealand, -8 under par 63, to be T9 at -13 under par. Must be the influence of Steve Williams on the bag.

Ryan started to hole some good putts today;

“To be honest it was probably a little scrappy to start with and I holed a 45 to 50 footer across the green on five and that kick-started things.”

“I saw a lot of 10 and 12 footers go in today that haven’t gone in the previous five or six tournaments and it’s nice to be back in the tournament.”

“Brad  played some amazing golf the first two days and he looks like he started pretty solidly again today, so unless he does something silly and shoots six or seven-under I think I’d have another chance tomorrow with another 63 or 64.”

ISPS Handa New Zealand Open. Brad Kennedy Leads.

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Brad Kennedy, from Australia, leads the New Zealand Open after 36 holes.

New Zealand Open

Brad Kennedy / : photosport.nz

Brad shot a second round -9 under par 62 at the par 71 Millbrook course, to lead the New Zealand Open by one shot at -16 under par.

Former champion Brad carded a birdie at six out of his last seven holes, with good putting being the key;

“It was awesome, it is nice to play like that. I had a good rhythm going into the back -9, coming through 15 to 18, I had some nice full numbers.”

“The greens are just pure here so they are great to putt on. I birdied my last four holes.”

“It doesn’t matter where I am, I just have to stay aggressive. Anytime you try and be conservative, a course like this will come and get you.”

“It’s nice knowing that I have won the Open before, at a different course, to be able to win it a second time would be fantastic.”

“Having won it before allows me not to press too hard; guys who haven’t won it before and are in contention will be trying to win the first one.”

“It’s a great National Open to win and we will all be having a go.”

First round leader Ben Campbell, of New Zealand signed for second round -5 under par 67, at The Hills, for a -15 under par total, good putting keeping the momentum going;

“Five under was always good out there, so I can’t complain. I played pretty solid all day, so it was nice.”

“I holed two or three putts outside 10, 15 feet which kept the momentum going. “

“I didn’t quite hit the ball as good as yesterday, but it’s always tough backing up a good round like that.”

Michael Hendry, also from New Zealand holds third place at -13 under par, a -6 under par 65 at Millbrook keeping him in touch of the lead.

Michael was in the four-ball with the leader, and enjoyed the experience, watching his playing partner rolling in putts;

“It is good having a playing partner rolling putts in as well; it allows both of us to start rolling.”

“We had at least 30 birdies between us in 36 holes, so it was a good four ball.”

“I think it will be a different story on the weekend. Hopefully the wind gets up, I like playing in the wind, it would make it a bit more difficult and pin positions will be tough.”

Australian PGA Championship, Popovic Prevails.

Daniel Popovic / pga.org,au

Daniel Popovic prevailed at the Australian PGA Championship on Sunday at the Palmer Coolum Resort golf course, to win by four shots after beginning the last round with a two shot advantage. Daniel  kept his emotions in check to par the last hole for a closing 69 to finish the tournament at 16-under par and claim his first professional victory. A delighted Daniel said;

“I can’t believe this has happened. I really just can’t believe it”

Anthony Brown finished in a tie for second on -12 under par along with Rod Pampling. Tied in fourth place was Geoff Ogilvy and Brad Kennedy at -11 under par. Big talking Peter Senior failed to match his arrogant rhetoric before the final round, falling to a +5 over par round of 77. No big winds to give him an advantage this week, with his broomstick putter. That should give the R&A and the U.S.G.A  something to ponder over before announcing their anchoring decision.

Congratulations to Daniel, I hope this win will be the first of many more.

Australian PGA Championship, Daniel Popovic and China’s Xin Jun Zhang are Tied at the Top

 

 

Daniel Popovic        Zhang joins Popovic in share of lead

Daniel Popovic / Getty Images                                                                                Xin Jun Zhang

Daniel Popovic and China’s Xin Jun Zhang are tied top of the Australian PGA Championship after the second round at the Palmer Coolum Resort golf  club. Both players are at -10 under par for the tournament, Daniel with a modest -2 under par 70, and Xin Jun fired in another round of -5 under par 67 for his total.

Daniel said he was stoked to be still at t he top of the leaderboard;

” I am stoked, “I can’t get the smile off my face since I finished the round. It’s an unbelievable experience. I am lost for words explaining it.”

Zhang used an interpreter to speak about his golf;

“I felt good today, I am getting used to this layout and to the wind. I’ve learned some English, mostly related to golf, like ‘how do you think this breaks’?”

Matthew Griffen and Geoff Ogilvey are tied in third place at -8 under par, just two shots adrift of the leaders. Tied in fifth spot are Brad Kennedy and Mathew Goggin, both at -7 under par for the tournament.

Geoff Ogilvey,  the 2006 US Open winner and 2008 Australian PGA champion, said he thought his experience of being in contention heading into the weekend should put him in a good position to attack.

“It helps. Being on the first tee can be a scary place the first few times you are there on the weekend, there is a no substitute for experience. It’s a nice advantage to have but there are a lot of good golfers in this field playing well and there is still a long way to go.”

Geoff really wants to finish the year inside the top 50 in the World rankings, so he is aiming to win here;

“I don’t know if it has to be first to get into the top 50, but it probably has to be first two or three, I don’t study world rankings that much. But that would be a bonus, winning the tournament would be the best part, but if that was a side bonus that would be good. I feel like I am in a good place. It’s nice I will be in one of the last few groups tomorrow and if I can have a good score, maybe get right up there after tomorrow and give it a crack on Sunday.”