YOUNG NSW golfer Dimi Papadatos has claimed an emphatic victory at the 2014 New Zealand Open Championship played at The Hills and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.
Starting the day with a one shot lead the 22-year-old looked solid throughout the round firing a 6-under 66 to finish with a tournament total of 18-under 270.
Having turned Professional at the end of 2012, Papadatos held of many challengers including the experienced Kiwi golfer Mark Brown to claim his maiden victory.
Brown eventually finished the leading Kiwi, four shots behind the young Aussie disappointed that he wasn’t able to end the 12 year Kiwi drought at the National Open.
A further shot back was David Klein (NZ), while Ash Hall (VIC) and Richard Lee (NZ) rounded out the top-5 on 12-under the card.
Papadatos’ previous best result on the PGA Tour of Australasia was a third place finish at the ISPS Handa Perth International last October.
“I kept believing in myself and telling myself I could do it, the whole way round. But there’s always that thing, deep down wondering if you really can,” he said.
Papadatos said it was “unreal” to follow in the footsteps of some great Aussie golfers – the likes of Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Peter O’Malley and Craig Parry – who had won the New Zealand Open.
He also followed the lead of his good mate Jake Higginbottom who won as an amateur at Clearwater in 2012.
“I didn’t really think at the start of the week I would have had my name on the trophy behind him, but as the week started to progress, I thought there was a good chance so I’m pretty happy.”
Papadatos believed the win, where he earned 16 World Rankings Points, status on the PGA Tour of Australasia until 2016 and three starts on the Japan Tour would be massive for his career going forward.
“Obviously some great players have won this event, it’s a massive honour. I wouldn’t have told you at the start of the week I was capable of this. I’m really happy.”
The PGA Tour of Australasia takes its winter break now before resuming with the newly sanctioned Fiji International in August.NZ Open Final Results