Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Golf: Double job for talented teen

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Harry Hillier has had the best week in his golfing career so far with two tournament wins. Photo / Andrew Warner
Harry Hillier has had the best week in his golfing career so far with two tournament wins. Photo / Andrew Warner

It has been an unforgettable week in the life of talented young golfer Harry Hillier.

The 16-year-old from the Te Puke club won two tournaments in seven days in an impressive display of his mental toughness as much as his rare golfing skills.

On Thursday and Friday he cleaned up the field in the 72-hole Junior Kaimai Classic to win by seven shots from Omanu teenager Shaun Campbell.

Hillier finished his four rounds in fierce summer heat at 13-under par.

Two rounds were played at Mount Maunganui on Thursday followed by a final 36 holes at Omanu on Friday. The highlight was a brilliant eight-under 64 by Hillier in his morning round at Omanu.

"That tied my best round here (Omanu) and kept up my good form. I enjoy Omanu a lot more because it is more open so I can hit a lot better tee shots because there are no trees," he said.

The victory followed his triumph in a top-class field at the North Island Men's Under-19 Championship played at St Andrews in Hamilton a week earlier.

Hillier won by defeating his older brother Charlie, 19, by one shot in a final-hole finish the two sibling rivals will never forget.

He needed to get up and down from a bunker at the 18th for par to beat his older brother, who was watching greenside, by one shot.

"My ball was plugged. They have hard faces on the bunkers so I had an idea of just bouncing it into the bank and letting it run down the slope and pulled it off perfectly. It ran down to about nine feet and then I holed it across the slope for probably the best moment of my life," Hillier said.

"Our competitiveness is unbelievable so it was actually good to get one over him [Charlie]. He came up to me and said 'good golfing brother, you finally got one over me', which was nice."

The win was even more remarkable as Hillier broke his toe the night before the final round and struggled to walk round the course.

"That was the best thing about the week - breaking my toe and still winning."

Charlie won the event in 2014 and was home for a month after an outstanding first year at University of Kansas, where he is number two on the famed golf school's Jayhawks team.

The younger Hillier would like to lead the Bay of Plenty senior golf team at the Interprovincials later this year and then play college golf in the US, before launching a professional career.

He said they had come through a positive, nurturing environment at the Te Puke Golf Club which has been a big factor in his success so far.

"I can't thank those guys enough. They support me financially and I owe them so much."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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