The NZPGA Pro Am Championship has been won by New Zealander Mike Hendry. His final round was a four under par 68, to finish two shots clear of the field. Earlier in the round he was leading by three shots but a quadruple bogey at the tricky 16th hole gave the lead back to third round leader Andrew Martin for an exciting finish. Hendry needed to wait for the Aussie Martin to finish his round but he bogied the 17th needing a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff.
Martin posted another bogey to drop back to share second place with Kiwi Mark Brown’s 14 under par. It’s the second biggest win of Hendry’s career, following his victory in the 2010 Indonesia Open on the OneAsia tour.
“Winning in Indonesia was satisfying because it was my first win but being able to win at home in front of friends and family and putting my name on that cup which has been one of my goals ever since I turned professional is just awesome,” said Hendry.
“I felt the love out there. I had a lot of people as I was walking off greens saying ‘come on Mike you can do it, keep it going, you’re playing great.’ You don’t often get that overseas.”
The First Tee and Curekids were also definite winners of the tournament sharing a $46,000 purse at the charity auction on the Friday evening. Executive Director of The First Tee Pip King says, “we are humbled by the generosity of a very special group of people, the amateurs who played in the tournament. It was their participation and support of the auction that will make a big difference to our ability to deliver our character development programme to more New Zealand kids.”
Each of the last nine groups were accompanied by a First Tee participant from the Queenstown sub-chapter. The children each carried sand to repair divots on the course and wore official caddy bibs bearing a First Tee Core Value. “It was a big thrill for the young golfers to be inside the ropes at an important event and their behaviour on the course was outstanding. They have been wonderful ambassadors for The First Tee and we are very proud”.
My thanks to Executive Director of The First Tee Pip King for this comprehensive report on a great Kiwi NZPGA Pro Am win by Mike Hendry and a wonderful fundraiser with thrills for the young upcoming golfers who wore official caddy bibs and walked with the players–a treat they’ll always remember. Good on ya everybody involved with this important event at The Hills on New Zealand’s South Island. Liz