GOLF: Radonich would love to swing Lotto win

ANENDRA SINGH
Nick Radonich, the schoolboy, fancied himself as a leg spinner.
But, as fate would have it, a sheet of corrugated-iron roofing lying in the backyard of the Terrace School pupil's Waipukurau home put paid to that.
"I played a game for the Hawke's Bay boys' team on a Saturday and cut the four tendons on my foot - except the one in the big toe - the next day," says Radonich, at his Hastings home, the irony not lost on the 33-year-old roofing contractor as he rubs his calloused hands.
"I was hobbling around on crutches for 15 weeks and that was the end of my cricket season."
Attempting to lift the spirit of a morose Radonich, elder brother Eden coaxed him into going to Waipukurau Golf Club one day to look for golf balls.
"Eden just wanted to get me on the course. We'd fish out 200 or so balls and 20 eels, and sell the balls back to the club for 50c each," he tells SportToday, adding: "The eels were not too bad smoked but we'd give them a good bash with the club and chuck them back into the drains."
The rest, as they say, is history, as Radonich polishes his irons before heading off this weekend with Eden, 38, as part of the 10-member Hawke's Bay senior men's golf team for the Interprovincial Quadrangular tournament for the Woolaway Trophy.
They will face the might of Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Poverty Bay at the Ohope Golf Club, near Whakatane.
The "loyal-to-the-bone" Takapau Golf Club member has played in 10 national provincial championships, and it'll be his second with Eden if the brothers make the cut for the Lion Foundation Nationals in Timaru, in early December.
The sons of Nicky and Dennis Radonich, of Waipukurau, who both played golf, were in Bay age-group teams in their early teens.
Youngest brother Chris, 32, a meatworker with his father at Takapau, tried golf but is more partial to riding bikes, surfing and strumming his guitar, while sister Wenda, 40, of Hastings, doesn't play golf.
"Dare I say it, Chris would have been a better player than both of us but golf just didn't appeal to him," says Nick, the Bay No.1.
As a junior player, he was part of the provincial side that stamped their supremacy for several years.
"(The then Bay junior selector) Judy Gimblett kept me back (in the juniors) for three to four years.

We could have quite easily made the seniors but we wanted to win and it was the best thing for us," says Radonich of fellow junior golfers Gerald Nathan, Mark Tasker ( a current senior) and Nicholas Bailey.
Radonich, who went on to represent New Zealand at under-21 level, bemoans missing out on the Titleist Academy, established soon after he graduated to the senior ranks.
However, he did enjoy coaching stints with Alex Mercer, of Wellington, Hastings PGA professional Brian Doyle and his first coach, Brian Jamieson, of Dannevirke.
"Brian was the most influential," he says. Why?
"Because he is the same size as me. We had our moments chipping and pitching against each other at (the then) Flaxmere Golf Club, when he was a five or six handicapper."
As a national under-21 rep, Radonich was part of an undefeated team of six amateurs who won the interstate matchplay in Sydney by half a point and clinched the Clare Higson Trophy 12 1/2-2 1/2 from Australia. To top it off, Saali Herewhini, of Northland, won the strokeplay title.
Radonich has been concentrating on spending more time with his wife, Kim Chapman, and their four-year-old daughter, Karsha, in Hastings. He moved to the city when he was 23.
A plus-one handicapper, he says he believes he has hit a plateau in his game as he and Karsha chip balls over his backyard fence.
"All I do is practise my putting on the lounge floor with a glass - I try not to break the back of the glass. I play a lot through the heart and go around the course the best I can by staying out of trouble," he says.
"I'm not a consistent player and I can be very streaky. I like taking a bit of risk. I'm more likely to make pars then fives and sixes, that's why people don't like playing with me."
While family is vital and he relishes fishing in his 15-footer, My Mistress ("Kim's a golfing and fishing widow"), Radonich would love to have the money to go further in golf.
"If I win $100,000 in Lotto I'd go professional. It's more for the glory, to play top golfers and scratch my name on cups. Second place-getters never get their names on cups."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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