Another Strong Week for NZ Golfers


New Zealand professionals were prominent around the world last weekend.  Kieran Muir followed up his strong performance in the Isuzu Queensland Open with victory in the Craig’s Investment Partners Wanganui Pro-Am.  Lydia Ko had another Top 5 result on the LPGA Tour, continuing her solid form of recent weeks, Michael Hendry showed his class with a Top 10 finish in the Heiwa PGM Championship, and Ryan Fox finished mid  field in the Turkish Airlines Open.


On the PGA Tour of China, Fraser Wilkin had his best result to date with a T4 finish in the Clearwater Bay Classic, with Campbell Rawson and Josh Munn also prominent in this event.


It’s an important week ahead for Brad Shilton, Gareth Paddison, Harry Bateman and Tae Koh, as they head to Japan for Stage 3 Japan Tour Q-School, starting tomorrow at Sunny Field GC in Ibaraki.


Craig’s Investment Partners Wanganui Pro-Am


An opening round of 66 coupled with a 72 on day two, when the wind got up and the greens became firm, was enough to get Kieran Muir home by a single shot from Trevor Marshall and Lachie McDonald, who both finished on 139.


Mark Brown (74/66) and Harry Bateman (71/69) tied 4th on even par 140.  The result consolidates Bateman’s lead in the Mondiale NZ PGA Order of Merit race, with Brown lying 2nd.  Muir’s win gets him up to 4th position, so all of these golfers are virtually assured of starts in the 2018 NZ PGA Championship, and the NZ Open.


European Tour


Justin Rose is the man of the moment right now, with back to back wins in Shanghai and now Turkey.  He took out the Turkish Airlines Open on -18, by a single shot from Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium), and Dylan Frittelli (South Africa).  This was a great result for Frittelli and easily his best payday to date, walking away with around $NZ 800k for the week.


Ryan Fox had his usual sprinkling of bogeys, but not as many birdies as normal, eventually finishing T48 on -2.  It was still a good week for Ryan, pocketing around $NZ 40k to take his 2017 European Tour earnings to over $NZ 1.5 million.  He now lies 31# in the Race to Dubai rankings.




The three round Toto Japan Classic was essentially a sprint event, and Shanshan Feng’s 2nd round 63 made it very hard for the chasing pack.  However, when Lydia Ko got to -13 after 12 holes in the final round – three shots behind Feng – there was certainly a glimmer of hope.  Unfortunately no more birdies were forthcoming for Lydia, and a last hole bogey after she drove into the trees dropped her down to T5 on -12, seven shots behind Shanshan Feng’s winning total of -19.


Lydia now has two more opportunities (if she plays in China this week) to record her first victory for 2017, and if she can continue in current vein, she must be a good chance to do that.







Japan Tour


Michael Hendry was again not far off winning in Japan in the Heiwa PGM Championship at the PGM Golf Resort in Okinawa.  He hit a solid 16 greens in his final round for a closing 68, only four shots behind winner Chan Kim (Korea), but his putting stats suggest he is not quite at his best in that area, averaging around 31 per round through the tournament.


Conditions in Round 3 were especially tough, with Michael shooting 76, which was by no means the worst score.  Runner-up Katsumata Miyamoto blew out from a 2nd round 66 to a 3rd round 79, but stormed back with a closing 63 to rocket back up the leaderboard.


Michael’s week was worth around $NZ 70k; he now lies 17# in official earnings on the Tour at $NZ 500k.


Clearwater Bay Classic


Fraser Wilkin took full advantage of his Monday qualifying starting slot to record his best finish to date on the China Tour, a T4 on -3.  He will be particularly pleased with his four under back nine, including three birdies in the last four holes.


Campbell Rawson and Josh Munn both got off to good starts with rounds of 65 & 67 respectively, but couldn’t maintain the pace: Rawson finished T15 on +4, and Munn T20 on +5.


The winner of this new event on the Tour was James Marchesani of Australia, who pulled off his first professional victory by nailing a six foot birdie putt on the final green for a -7 tally.