Golf: Spearman Burn, Barson post victories

By Peter White

Mount Maunganui and Fairview golf courses hosted the best New Zealand-based professional golfers over two successful pro-ams played from Friday through Sunday.

The opening event was the Coombes-Johnston BMW Pro-Am at Mount Maunganui on Friday, won in convincing style by Wellington's Peter Spearman-Burn. In tricky, windy conditions, he fired seven birdies and just one bogey to shoot a five-under-par 67.

He won by two shots from the experienced campaigner Grant Moorhead.

It was Spearman-Burn's second pro win in his fledgling career after his maiden win at The Grange in Auckland last month.

Local player Dean Sipson was the best of the Bay of Plenty pros, shooting a two-under 70, ahead of Te Puke club pro Nick Davey, US-based Josh Geary and Tauranga's Jared Pender, who all fired 71s.

Omokoroa's Kieran Muir was on even par with a 72.

But that round must have put Muir in the groove because the following day he burned up the picturesque Fairview course, near Katikati, with a brilliant seven-under 65 in the opening round of the 36-hole Mens Health Trust NZ and Generation Homes Fairview Pro-Am.

Muir's round featured two eagles in his opening four holes and he had four birdies coming home, before he dropped a shot at the par three second, his last hole for the day under the shotgun, multiple tee start.

Geary was impressive in his four-under 68, while several pros with affiliation to Bay of Plenty did well in great conditions on Saturday.

Omanu's James Hamilton shot 70, Pender 71, Mount Maunganui pro Luke Nobilo 72 and US-based Brad Iles a one over 73.

But on the final round played on Sunday, the local guns were unable to stop New Plymouth's Dominic Barson and Hastings' Leighton James taking out the top two spots.

Barson had a 68 to go with his first round of 67, to finish at nine under, two ahead of James, who shot the low round of the day, a five-under 67.

Hamilton and Muir finished third equal but had different fortunes on the day.

Overnight leader Muir was disappointed with his one over 73 that cost him the big cheque, but Hamilton came home strongly with a fine four-under 68.

Pender finished fifth equal, with Geary in eighth spot and Iles back in 16th place.

Troy Ropiha of Taupo finished seventh but of much greater significance, he won the Andy Shaw trophy as the Mondiale PGA Order of Merit leader for the 2012 year.

He will now gain automatic entry into the major events in Australia and New Zealand in 2013.

Ropiha also won a $5000 bonus that will assist him towards the Australasian Tour School final stage in early January.

The top 10 finishers on the Order of Merit are assured a start in the New Zealand PGA Championship at The Hills in late February.

Of the local players, Pender finished fifth on the order list with Muir sneaking into 10th spot.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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