Aussie Amateur Jake Higginbottom was won the BMW New Zealand Open at the Clearwater Resort, with a final round of -5 under par, 67, and a tournament total of -7 under par. Jake had to fight hard to repel the challenge from fellow Aussie’s Jason Norris and Peter Wilson, who both finished tied for second at -6 under par.
Jake made history by becoming the first amateur golfer for 56 years to be crowned New Zealand Open champion with his one-shot victory in the BMW-sponsored tournament hosted by Christchurch at Clearwater Resort on Sunday. The 19 year-old Ausssie from New South Wales, started the final round three shots adrift of Mark Brown, New Zealand’s main hope of ending a drought of nine years since a Kiwi held aloft the winner’s silverware, the Brodie Breeze Trophy.
Jake was happy to be beating the professionals, to know he was a good as them;
“It is a great feeling and it means a lot me. It is good to come over here and play against the professionals and know that I am as good as them. Mum was crying and Dad was just happy that I made a good speech. I actually talked about the 18th with my mates before the final round. They asked me what I would do if I had a one shot lead down the last and I told them I would just rip one down there.I was most nervous when I had that short putt on the last but it was nice to see that drop and to win is really good. It was good to be a couple behind after the front nine because I knew that I had to make birdies. That is what I did so it was good.”
Mark Brown summed up his disappointing day with the putter, he finished fourth after his +1 over par last round;
” I played well enough, I played beautifully for first 10 holes and didn’t miss a shot.But I only really holed one putt and had 34 for the day which is never going to win a golf tournament. I don’t know, I didn’t start them on line so there’s a technical issue there. I gave myself a lot of chances and think I hit 33 greens for the last 36 holes so that’s a lot of chances I didn’t take. It’s frustration and probably been a career thing for me so I’ve got to get better if I want to reach the goals I want to meet. I’ll go away, work hard, and try and get better.”
So New Zealand will have to wait another year before the chance of having another Kiwi winning the BMW New Zealand Open.