Golf: Paddison is hoping to learn his lines

By Daniel Richardson

Gareth Paddison. Photo / Getty Images
Gareth Paddison. Photo / Getty Images

If Gareth Paddison learns only one thing in Queenstown this week, he would love to master the greens at The Hills.

It might be a slightly greedy request but the Lower Hutt left-hander hasn't been able to get the hang of them during his past few trips to Sir Michael Hill's private course.

He will get another chance on Thursday when he tees it up in the NZ PGA Championship where he will be part of a strong Kiwi contingent in the field.

"I've played The Hills every time it's hosted either the New Zealand Open or the New Zealand PGA and the course is good. It keeps getting better and better every year. The 16th green is still there unfortunately but other than that it's a decent course," Paddison said.

"Four years in a row I've still been stumped on the greens so me and my good friend who caddies for me, we've got absolutely no idea about the greens. They're a fantastic surface but I've got completely no idea on them."

What makes them so tricky?

"It's just the lines on them," Paddison continued. "It's a beautiful surface, it gets less traffic than any course throughout the year. The surface is fantastic and I'm just dumbfounded by the greens and the lines and the lines that they take. I've just got no idea on them."

Aside from his struggles with the putter at the Hills, Paddison has been in handy form during the past year and finished 10th on the Australian PGA Tour's order of merit last year, after earning A$87,979.68 (NZ$108,344.86).

He grabbed a share of 16th in last year's New Zealand Open at Clearwater and has started this year in the same consistent fashion and has already logged two top-10 finishes across the Tasman.

His improved accuracy off the tee has helped his cause in recent times and he said he was still making technical improvements in his game, although he did miss the cut at the Victorian Open by one stroke during the weekend.

The 32-year-old won the Victorian PGA Championship in February last year, which netted him A$18,000 (NZ$22,166) but he knows he is overdue for a huge payday.

"One of my goals is to win a big one this year. I certainly feel I'm in that sort of form to do it, really. So I'm building up to it."

Paddison has toiled away on various circuits since he turned professional in 2001, including a year on the European Tour in 2008 and he will have a collection of starts on the OneAsia Tour this year to complement his Australian schedule.

As he builds for a big 2013, Paddison said he would like to have a shot at securing his Japanese Tour card at the end of the year.

New Zealander Michael Hendry will play the Japanese Tour this year, while David Smail has been a regular in that part of the world for the past 15 seasons.

"David Smail's done incredibly well for himself," Paddison said. "He's made a great career up there and it's what I'd like to get to as well."

Paddison will be hoping the greens are a bit easier to read in Japan if he heads there later in the year.

- APNZ

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