Jordan Golding has achieved some notable milestones in his young golfing career but his victory in the match play final of the 76th New Zealand Maori Championships at Taupo last weekend is a career high.
The 18-year-old from the Omanu club defeated Joshua Dasent from Hawkes Bay in the final, to add the Otautahi Trophy to the Maori under-19 title he won at the tournament in April last year.
The Ngati Maniapoto descendant, who went to Mount Maunganui College, was in a positive mindset when he arrived at the challenging Taupo Golf Club course with six rounds of golf to play in five days.
Golding struggled like the rest of the field in the blustery conditions over the initial two rounds of strokeplay but qualified in the top tier to contest the four rounds of match play to follow.
"I've always been pretty good at match play and have done well playing pennants for Omanu," Golding said. "I like it because you can have the odd rough hole and it doesn't matter so much."
In the match play rounds he defeated experienced Taupo golfer Laurie Hema 5 and 4, Troy Taylor from North Shore 2 and 1, before he had a battle with Cruize Wawatai from Wellington, winning one-up to make the final against the talented 16-year-old Dasent.
"I was not feeling too confident going into the final as he was playing pretty well and I played with him the day before when he beat Howard Maxwell 5 and 4, and Howard is not a bad golfer," Golding said. "[Dasent] putts really well but I beat him 3 and 2 in the end."
Winning the title is the best way Golding can say thanks to his parents, Jo and Lyn Golding, for all the miles driving him to tournaments, and to his coach Nick Wilson and the supportive Omanu club members.
"I am pretty overwhelmed by it all and it didn't really set in straight away what I have done and what will come from it."
Golding started playing at Omanu with his granddad Murray Norris when he was nine and really came to prominence in 2011, when, as a 16-year-old, he won the Omanu Strokeplay title with four rounds of medal golf, arguably the toughest format of the game.
That year he shot a sizzling 63 during a club event around the testing Omanu course to set a new course record which still stands today. The round could have been even better as Golding was a staggering seven under the card after the front nine holes.
But last year was a disappointing year for Golding, as he missed selection for both the Bay of Plenty senior and junior teams after some indifferent form later in the year.
He is determined to wear the Bay colours in 2013.
"I thought I would have a good shot at making the junior team but missed out which was pretty disappointing. I had some rough tournament play from the start of August through to September at the Bay Open and Waikato tournaments."
Winning the NZ Maori championships has given Golding a wonderful opportunity to kick-start his amateur career as he is now in the field to contest the NZ Open at Clearwater later this year.
The opportunity to play comes from a new partnership between NZ Golf and NZ Maori Golf which is an excellent initiative to help give an amateur golfer the experience of playing in a top professional tournament.
"Definitely the big goal is to make the cut at the NZ Open when I play in that and if I can do that I will be stoked, and I should really benefit from that.
"I really just want to play as many tournaments as I can and see how far I can get. Consistency is the key and playing well all year round."