N.Z. Open. Matt Griffin Wins.

White Dragon GolfN.Z. Open


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.

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.”