Long Year not over yet…

It’s been a long year for many of our players, some of whom have chalked up serious air miles travelling to tournaments and Q Schools around the world.

However, there’s still some golf to be played with the two concluding events in the Mondiale NZ PGA Order of Merit in Cambridge and Mount Maunganui next week with slots in the 2018 NZ Open and NZ PGA Championship up for grabs, and with the European Tour still continuing – this week in South Africa, with recent Tour graduate Josh Geary in the field.

Meantime Tae Koh, Harry Bateman and Gareth Paddison all made the cut in Japan Tour Q School, with Koh finishing the best on T25.

Mark Brown was again the leading New Zealander last week, in the Australian PGA Championship, completing his best PGA Tour of Australasia season for some time.

Last but not least, Tiger came back and did enough in the Hero World Challenge to lift interest in the 2018 PGA Tour season by several notches….

NZ PGA Circuit

The final two events are at Cambridge on Tuesday 12th December, and Mount Maunganui on Thursday.  Harry Bateman has an insurmountable lead in the Mondiale NZ PGA OOM, but positions further down the ladder could change and will be keenly contested.

Both fields are strong with the likes of Mark Brown, Fraser Wilkin, Kieran Muir and Brad Shilton currently listed as playing.  Josh Geary and Harry Bateman are also down to play at the Mount.

You can follow the results for both events at www.pga.org.nz

Australian PGA Championship

Cameron Smith showed amazing short game skills and held his nerve to edge Jordan Zunic in a thrilling playoff in the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines.  After being sledged by a spectator as he was about to play his 2nd shot on the final hole, Smith bogeyed the tough 425 metre 18th to fall into a tie with Jordan Zunic, but then prevailed on the 2nd playoff hole with a great up and down which Zunic was unable to match.

The 24 year old Smith is of course well established on the PGA Tour, but the result was heartbreaking for Zunic as victory would have seen him onto the European Tour for 2018.  Zunic has had an unpredictable career to date – he came to Auckland two years ago having to prequalify at Akarana for the NZ PGA Championship, and a top 10 finish at Remuera got him into the NZ Open next week, which he then won to complete a fantastic fortnight.  Since then he has had only one other victory, and so will have to rely on Australian and New Zealand tournaments for at least the first part of 2018.

Mark Brown had another great week in the PGA Championship, closing with a 67 to finish T20 on -7.  Michael Hendry also had a final round 67 to get him to T24, while other NZers making the cut were Ryan Fox (T55, even par), Josh Geary (T62, +3) and Michael Long (T68, +4).  The cut was made at -1, with Brad Shilton, David Smail and Daniel Pearce all missing out by one shot.  Kieran Muir and Ben Campbell were also in MC territory.

Five New Zealanders finished in the top 30 of the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, the best of whom was Michael Hendry (5#, earning $NZ 220k), followed by Ben Campbell (13#, $130k), Mark Brown (16#, $120k), Daniel Pearce (20#, $95k) and Ryan Fox (26#, $63k from four events).

Brown and Campbell in particular got a huge boost from this to their world rankings, as you can see below.

The 2017 OOM was won by Brett Rumford, thanks largely to his Perth Super Six victory, with Adam Bland 2nd.

Japan Q School

The Japan Tour arguably has the most tortuous route to Tour card status, featuring three qualifying stages and then a mammoth 202 players taking part in final stage qualifying.

The cut after four rounds was made at -2, with 90 players going forward to the final two rounds.  Tae Koh was sitting at T8 at that point, but a 5th round 74 didn’t help the cause, and he eventually finished  T25 on -10, with Paddison and Bateman both T71 on -5.

Top qualifier was Y E Yang, a Major winner, on -23, just underpinning what Tae, Gareth & Harry were up against.  The good news is that all three will get some status on the Japan Tour or the Japan Challenge Tour – the formula is complicated, but Tae in particular should get some main Tour opportunities early on before a re-rank occurs in May.

Well done to all three though for completing the journey!

European Tour

The Tour goes back to South Africa this week for the Joburg Open, where over 200 players will tee it up on two courses: the Firethorn and Bushwillow courses at the Randpark Golf Club.

This is a significant event for two reasons: firstly it is a triple sanctioned tournament with the Asian and Sunshine Tours, and secondly it is a regional qualifier for the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie.  The first three players (not already exempt) home in the Joburg Open will get into the Open Championship.

Josh Geary has made the long trip across, and given the amount of golf and travel he has had in recent weeks faces some big challenges, with a field stacked with talented locals headed by Dylan Frittelli.  Frittelli has made amazing progress over the last 18 months, and winning last week’s Afr Asia Bank Mauritius Open took him to 55# in the world.

Coverage is on SS 53 from 9.30pm tonight.




Official World Golf Rankings

The latest rankings are given below, together with rankings as at the end of 2016.  Our big movers have been Ben Campbell and Mark Brown, thanks to the points weighting for PGA Tour of Australasia events.  Gareth Paddison also shows up in this light.

Michael Hendry has also improved significantly: the higher your ranking, the harder it becomes in some sense, but another victory or two would do no harm…

Going in the other direction have been Steven Alker and Josh Geary, but this is not a true reflection of how they performed in 2017.  Expect to see Geary go up at a rate of knots if he can get established on the European Tour.

In the women’s ranks, it’s Lydia Ko followed by a lot of daylight…. Lydia has now been in the top 10 for 225 weeks.


                                           Current                     End 2016

Danny Lee                            109                                 67

Ryan Fox                               123                               123

Michael Hendry                   129                               154

Tim Wilkinson                      477                               382

Ben Campbell                       550                              1105

Daniel Pearce                       601                                675

Mark Brown                         614                               1133

Gareth Paddison                 803                               1117

Steven Alker                         968                                568

Josh Geary                            992                                523




Lydia Ko                                   9                                      1

Liv Cheng                              510                                 552

Cathryn Bristow                  513                                 450

Munchin Keh                       714                                 949

Hanee Song                         841                                   -

Jenna Hunter                     1231                                1119