Sam Jones created history in his own backyard, becoming the first amateur to win the Jennian Homes Trophy.

The 26-year-old has had an incredible 2022, picking up his first victory on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour at the Carrus Tauranga Open a little under a month ago after being a bridesmaid a handful of times.

He finished second at the Renaissance Brewing New Zealand Stroke Play in April after Josh Geary shot seven under on the back nine to pip him at the posts and again at the DVS Clearwater Open. He also finished second at the Christies Floorings Mount Open and 20th at the Autex Muriwai Open earlier this year.

The Manaia Golf Club member came into the final event of the year, the Taranaki Open, with a 190-point lead over Geary. He needed a strong finish to secure the title and create his own piece of New Zealand golfing history.

The equation was simple. If Jones finished inside the top five, Geary would need a victory to win outright. They would share the trophy if Geary finished runner-up and Jones finished fifth.

With that in mind, Jones opened his Taranaki Open campaign with 70, 71, and 69 to be in fourth place at six-under-par, five shots back of the leader and three back of Geary, who was in third.

Jones approached the final round the same as “any other round,” and it certainly showed.

He rattled off nine birdies and three bogeys to climb to third, and with Geary finishing second to Michael Hendry, Jones had done enough to secure the Jennian Homes Trophy, an achievement he describes as feeling “pretty damn good.”

“It was a long day out there. I got off to a bit of a slow start, but I managed to keep my nose in it and understood that I needed a strong finish to clinch the trophy. It was pretty tight at the start with Mike [Hendry] and Josh [Geary], but I’m over the moon to get it done.

“I just tried to stay as calm as I could. I had a few tee shots in the first three rounds of the tournament that I wasn’t feeling very comfortable on, but I read a couple of notes in my notebook today that calmed me down before certain tough tee shots, which really helped me commit to my lines a lot more.

“I just tried to free myself up today, and whatever happened, happened.”

The win feels even sweeter as it was in front of his friends and family at home. He says his performances in top events this year give him plenty of confidence heading into the Asia-Pacific Amateur this week and the Nomura Cup next month.

“My golf in previous Jennian Homes Charles Tour events hasn’t been great previous to this year. I’ve slowly got better each year, and to finish the way I have these last four events with four top three’s and a win is pretty cool, and it gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”

He accumulated 1,585 points over the season, finishing 80 points ahead of Geary.

Jennian Homes Trophy winners:

  • 2015/2016: Jim Cusdin
  • 2016/2017: Mark Brown
  • 2017/2018: Daniel Pearce
  • 2018/2019: James Anstiss
  • 2020: Daniel Hillier
  • 2021: Ryan Fox
  • 2022: Sam Jones (a)