KIWI golfer Michael Hendry has won the PGA Tour of Australasia’s inaugural New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship in Queenstown.
Hendry fired a final round four under par 68, to finish two shots clear of the field with a tournament total 16 under par.
The 32-year-old had looked on course for a comfortable victory through 15 holes, when he led by three shots.
However, a quadruple bogey at the tricky 16th hole handed the lead back to the third round leader, Australia’s Andrew Martin, and set up a grand stand finish.
Hendry drew level again with a birdie at the 17th and saved par at the last before having to wait for Martin to finish his round.
The 27-year-old Aussie struck trouble on 17 and posted bogey, leaving him with the tough task of needing to birdie the last to force a play-off.
It wasn’t to be, with Martin struggling to a bogey to drop back to a share of second place with New Zealand’s Mark Brown at 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. However, he says the victory at The Hills is the sweeter of the two.
“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.”
Hendry now has a two week break before heading to China for the European Tour and One Asia co-sanctioned 2012 Volvo China Open.
After leading for the second and third round Andrew Martin was disappointed to have finished in a share for second with New Zealand’s Mark Brown at 14 under the card.
“I guess a little disappointed, probably more disappointed not to finish outright second,” said Martin who also finished in a share for second at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship last month.
When he reclaimed the lead after Hendry’s disastrous 16th quadruple bogey Martin had miscalculated the score and went on to bogey the 17th.
“I actually thought that Mike and I were both on 16 under when I was on the 17th, so I thought I need to go for it.
Cheadle has hole in one
A highlight of the day was two hole in ones scored by Hollywood Actor Don Cheadle and fellow amateur Chris Hart on the difficult par 3 16th.
“I hit the middle of the green and it fed down the hill and just kept rolling and went into the cup. I didn’t even see it. I just looked up and saw people jumping up and down and screaming. It was great because my kids were there and my wife was there so that was a lot of fun,” said Cheadle.
Forming part of the PGA Tour of Australasia, the NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship has been a highlight in the early stages of the 2012 season with a key date today being announced for the 2013 event.
“The NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship has been a standout event, the format is unique to the Tour and we have seen the players embrace and relish the opportunity to compete in a different style of event,” said Brian Thorburn, CEO of the PGA of Australia.
“We want to see the tournament build on the success of the inaugural event and I believe that positioning the tournament from the 28th February to 3rd March will provide the launch pad to achieve this.”
The PGA Tour of Australasia now goes into a winter recess.2012 NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship