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.”

N.Z. Open. Matt Griffin Wins.

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In a dramatic last hole finish Matt Griffen snatched victory at the New Zealand Open at The Hills Club in Queenstown.

N.Z. Open

Matt Griffin / Getty Images

Matt, from Australia won the New Zealand Open with a final round -5 under par 67 for a -20 under par winning total. It was not won until the final hole when Matt birdied and  Hideto Tanihara made bogey;

“I just hit driver and hit it hard down the right. I thought I hit it on the perfect line, it gave a right kick and it must have snuck down. In the end I had the perfect yardage.”

“I hit a wedge to a nice close range, long enough to still miss, so it was nice to roll it in. With Tanihara it was a bit unfortunate as his drive just rolled over and went into the rough.”

“It was the most nervous I’ve been, I did a lot of deep breathing on the green and it was a nice putt.”

“I took on 16 and 17 as I knew I was behind and hit good spots but came up with pars, the last was a great way to finish.”

“My girlfriend Liz, family and friends are here, the celebrations are going to be pretty big. It’s the first time that my parents have travelled overseas to see me play and it’s the biggest amount of people I’ve had at any event and there will be a drink out of that trophy before the night is over!”

“This is by far the biggest event I’ve won. To win the New Zealand Open, it’s got so many good names on the trophy, it’s a real step forward for me.”

Hideto Tanihara, from Japan was so close to winning this tournament, but had to settle for second place at -19 under par, a last round -2 under 70 denting his ambitions;

“When it went in the bunker I thought it would be ok. I wasn’t particularly worried and it wasn’t a shock.”

“However, the last putt I had I thought it was going to go in and I just came up a bit too short, which was a shame.”

“That’s the way that golf goes, there are many good players here out of 144 only one can win. I would like to try the same challenge again in the future.”

Kiwi Michael Hendry, with a great -7 under par 65 today was the best placed NZ player, he and Japan’s Shunsuke Sonoda -4 under 68, finished it a tie for third place at -14 under par.

Volvo China Open. Three-Way Tie at the Top.

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There was a three-way tie at the top of the Volvo China Open leaderboard at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club in Shanghai, China. Kiwi Michael Hendry, England’s David Howell and Bradley Dredge from Wales share the top spot after round one.

Volvo China Open

David Howell / Getty Images

David, Michael and Bradley all fired opening rounds of -4 under par 68 to occupy first place in the Volvo China Open.

David, who won the last of his five European Tour titles at St Andrews in October 2013 said he was delighted with his progress with his golf game;

“I’m delighted, it’s a really different test this week.”

“We knew it was firm in practice, but it was hard to work out how difficult it was going to be. The scoring showed people are finding it tricky.”

“I drove the ball beautifully today, really found my rhythm on the range and took it out onto the course so I kept the ball in play well and did a lot of things right.”

“There was a decent breeze out there, but really it’s the firmness of the greens that is making it difficult for everyone. The greens are in great condition and you’ve really got to think your way round.”

“The greens were really firm so the big thing was if you were hitting fairways you had chances.”

“It was never easy getting the ball close to the hole with slopes on the greens and the firmness; it was quite tricky round there.

“This afternoon the wind is going to get up and it will be firmer still, so I’d be surprised if four under was beaten.”

Kiwi Michael won on the Japan Golf Tour last week, and he admitted that the win had provided a welcome confidence boost.

“It makes the game a little easier I think, it’s always nice to play tournaments when you’re in good form.”

The defending champion Alex Levy was one behind the leaders after a -3 under par opening effort, sharing fourth spot with Julien Quesne and Marcus Fraser.

Last weeks winner in China, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, opened here with a -1 under par 71, in his quest for back to back wins on the European Tour.

 

Lydia Ko, New Zealand’s Brightest Golfing Star

Lydia Ko and her Canadian Open Trophy/Getty Images

Lydia Ko is New Zealand’s brightest golfing star again this year, and while she intends to continue with her schooling, everyone his talking about her professional career to come in the future.

New Zealand Golf’s CEO  Dean Murphy said winning the Canadian Open was undoubtedly the greatest achievement ever by a New Zealand female golfer and it was a significant moment both in Lydia’s life and in the annals of New Zealand women’s sport.

“She’s playing the very, very best players in the world and at 15 she becomes the youngest ever winner of a tournament on that tour, so it’s enormously significant. Every time she plays she seems to rewrite history but this is right up there. This will be her most stunning achievement to date by a long, long way.”

This year 2012,  where Michael Campbell and Michael Hendry both improved their performances, and Danny Lee narrowly missed out on his PGA card, Lydia was still comfortably the star sports standout. She was the youngest ever winner on the LPGA Tour,  by more than a year, and the first amateur to win on the tour in 43 years.

Unfortunately Lydia  missed out on a share of the US$2m purse at the Canadian Open, but went on to earn individual honors at the Espirito Santo World Amateur Team’s Championship in Turkey, in October.

We wish Lydia well for 2013, in her continuing studies, and especially out on the golf course, keep knocking those drives straight down the middle.

 

Talisker Australian Masters, Matthew Guyatt proves round one was no fluke.

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Masters

Matthew Guyatt/ Wayne Ludbey/Herald Sun

Queenslander Matthew Guyatt  is the man to catch in the Talisker Australian Masters after the 37-year-old followed his sizzling opening round of 65 with a composed -3 under par, 69 at Kingston Heath Golf Course on Friday, for a total tournament score of -10 under par.

Matthew said was aware of the charging Kiwi, Michael Hendry, but was not worried;

“I wasn’t worried, I just went back and focused. I was pretty relaxed. Standing on 18 and seeing your name up the top, it’s a pretty good feeling. That’s where everyone playing this week wants to be. I don’t know how it’s going to be tomorrow when I stand on the tee, I know I’m going to be nervous, there’s no doubt about that, I’m not going to say I’m not because I will be. But it’s about hopefully having the routine and all the work we’ve done on my routine and having that hold me in good stead so that I can pull the trigger and really be able to deal with whatever outcome comes. I actually said to my caddie it was looking like Mike Hendry might be the guy I get paired with. I said that wouldn’t be bad because I’ve travelled a little bit on OneAsia this year with Mike and get along well with him. That might be a good initiation into the final group rather than a Poulter or an Adam Scott or someone like that where the crowds are going to be heavily increased.”

 

Michael Hendry also had a second round of -3 under par, 69. to be two shots behind the leader, and alone in second place. Michael said he was playing risk free golf;

“I hit a lot of greens and put myself in position off the tee which is probably the key around here. I wasn’t making it tough on myself to make par. My course management got me round. I had a lot of really solid shots. I was taking clubs off the tee that weren’t going to get me a long way down there, but they were always going to be pretty risk-free.”

Adam Scott, the world number five is in third place, three shots off the lead after his second round of -2 under par 70.

Ian Poulter failed to keep pace with the leaders, shooting a second round of par, 72, which left him five shots adrift of the top of the leaderboard. A very somber Ian told reporters;

“The course plays much different in the wind. It’s a completely different course, I’m frustrated. I’m not going to stand here laughing, am I? I’ve shot level par and I’m disappointed. I’m not going to be standing here very jolly, am I?  I’ve left shots out there on the golf course. I’m five off the lead but I’m pissed off with my round of golf. Simple.”