Golf: Hamilton misses out after letting big lead slip

Omanu's Craig Hamilton had the Danny Lee Springfield Open in his grasp as he led by four shots going into the final round on Sunday, only for him to stumble in his final 18 holes and finish two shots behind Manukau golfer Nick Voke.

Hamilton had played superb golf to be nine under after shooting 66 and 65 in his opening two rounds and he looked assured of a win until it all went pear-shaped on the par 4 14th hole.

He hooked his drive and found a tree blocking his access to the pin. He chipped out to within 90m of the pin and looked to have recovered but ended up double bogeying the hole with a three-putt.

For the next four holes, Hamilton could only par one, leaving an opening for both Voke and Compton Pikari from Te Awamutu.

Voke parred the last five holes to finish one shot of Pikari, with Hamilton two behind.

"I started hitting a lot of good shots and the other guys faltered a bit and I just stayed calm I guess and got there," Voke said. "From the 14th, I don't think I missed a fairway or a green until the last hole and I was just hitting a lot of good shots and getting my pars."

The only time Voke looked in trouble was when he looked to have duffed his tee shot on the 18th.

"I nearly topped it, but I managed to make a good chip, get my par and get out of there."

Voke, who finished fourth in last year's tournament, was pleased to win the title for the first time but was not sure if he would return to defend his crown next year.

The battle for the women's title ended with an extra hole playoff between Titirangi's Brittney Dryland and Tokoroa's Chantelle Cassidy, which was won by the 18-year-old Dryland.

The teenager said she struggled with the temperature reaching 32C at one point.

"I thought I was going to die, it was really, really hot."

Dryland said her first round started badly but she got more consistent as the tournament went on.

"I started off kind of bad but then I got a bit lucky and I just kept getting up and down for pars."

The youngster, who finished in the top 10 in last year's tournament, said she had not worried about where she stood on the leader board or if she was even challenging Cassidy.

"Because I wasn't playing with [Cassidy], I just didn't even worry about what she was doing and just played my own game and at the end, just see what she had."

On the playoff hole, it took Dryland two shots from the tee to get her ball on the green and two putts to par the 18th.

Cassidy meanwhile hit her tee shot into the trees and chipped back on to the fairway, she chipped another shot to the green and took two putts to bogey the hole and give Dryland the title.

Joanna Kim rounded off the top three with an 11 over par total.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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