Promising young Kiwi professional Tae Koh took out the Trueform Spa Pools Huapai Pro-Am yesterday (March 10) the first professional event hosted by the club.

On a sold-out day, 31 eager amateur teams joined 31 professionals to experience Huapai Golf Course in near perfect weather conditions, matching the beautifully prepared greens, tees and fast running summer fairways.

Koh shot a new course-record five under 65 off the Blue tees and was delighted in his form and impressed by the course.

“You have a great and challenging golf course here and one that I really enjoyed playing. The greenkeeping team should be congratulated on their work, the greens were playing beautifully today, and I managed to roll a few nice ones in.

“I am just delighted to be out here playing though and want to thank the club, Trueform Spas and all the sponsors, just for putting a tournament on in these uncertain days, it is great for us players to have this opportunity.”

The tournament went ahead in Alert Level 2 conditions, meaning a shot gun start was out of the question and the pre and post event gatherings we limited to under the 100 people in the government guidelines.

That saw a more traditional first tee start, with the first players heading off at 9:30am and the last at 1:15pm, with everyone enjoying some post-round hospitality in the clubrooms afterwards and prize giving in the early evening.

It was appropriate too that Huapai Ambassador Stacey McCartney was the first to tee it up in a professional tournament, the 36-year-old enjoyed huge success in her Collegiate career in the United States before playing pro in Europe, Australia, and America and now balances being a mum and playing professionally.

Club President Michelle Dee couldn’t think of a better player to have the honour on the day.

“As someone who came through as a Huapai member and is now an Ambassador for the club, it was wonderful to see Stacey return and share in our first ever professional tournament and have that honour of the first shot on the day.

“Stacey always carries herself superbly and is a wonderful advocate for the club, but also sets a great example for all young players on how to approach the game, we were thrilled to have her back.”

The quality field also included multi global tour winners in Gareth Paddison and Josh Geary, New Zealand Open winner Mike Hendry and promising young New Zealanders in Dongwoo Kang, Nick Loach, Sam An and Jordan Loof while Richard Lee showed all of his experience in shooting an impressive one under 69 on a limited buildup of golf.

The day featured great support from local sponsors and suppliers, with players enjoying the chance to play for individual prizes with closest to the pins and longest drive competitions. No one however was able to take away the Miami Spa Pool from Trueform Spas for a hole in one on 10.

Koh was a clear winner, with Harry Bateman’s trip from Wellington made worthwhile with a 68, tied for second alongside Taylor Gill. Both were a shot ahead of a host of players who shot 1-under 69 on the challenging tree lined Huapai course, on beautifully prepared greens.