Golf: Duff in national limelight after title

By Anendra Singh


Stuart Duff was a national champion last night but he has no intentions of vying for a place in the Hawke's Bay senior men's amateur team again.

The former New Zealand A and Central Districts cricketer yesterday won the New Zealand Golf Men's Mid Amateur title at The Lakes Resort, Pauanui, in The Coromandel, north of Whitianga.

"I'm way past getting into a van with a group of teenagers now," the 49-year-old said after scorching a field of over-30 amateurs in both the strokeplay and eight-player matchplay segment of the tourney.

"I just like playing in tournaments. It's nice to do it when I want to rather then when a schedule dictates when I should," said the Lindisfarne College teacher who two years ago was embroiled in a robust debate with Bay senior men's selectors who considered him "too old" to represent the province after he was in the equation for seven years, including stints as captain.

The plus-two handicapper from Hastings outplayed Roy Hollick, of Pakuranga, 4 and 3 yesterday in the matchplay competition of the top eight qualifiers.

However, Duff was his usual humble self, saying the field wasn't strong nor big.

"It wasn't as strong as hit could be," Duff said, after becoming the top qualifier on Friday with a whopping 10-stroke lead and consistently finding the greens on regulation strokes.

The Hastings Golf Club member had an opening round of 72, one over par, followed by an afternoon round of 70, to finish square with the card after 36 holes.

On Saturday the inclement weather took its toll on the tourney.

"It put me off because it was raining cats and dogs so it was horrible.

"It was the wettest I've ever got in golf. I got so wet in the morning that I felt like jumping in the lake."

He said it was simply a matter of trying to stand upright and didn't really feel like playing golf.

"I've got a hell of a lot of coaching from [Hastings PGA professional] Brian Doyle in the past 20 years so I'd like to thank him for that support."

For his troubles, Duff won a trip for two over three nights to any Millennium chain of hotels in New Zealand.

He intends going to either Nelson, Bay of Islands or Queenstown over Christmas with his partner, Della Lamond.

Lakes Resort members included Darryl Prendergast, Shane Mitchell, Lyndsay Mulholland and Peter Goldsmith.

Championship division: 2012 winner Stuart Duff (Hastings) bt Roy Hollick (Pakuranga) 4/3. Semifinals: Stuart Duff bt Jason Cheok 2/1; Roy Hollick bt Mat Cormack 1up.

Quarterfinals: Stuart Duff (Hastings) bt Thai Leng (Remuera) 5/4; Jason Cheok (Titirangi) bt Aaron Kidd (Mt Maunganui) 3/2; Roy Hollick (Pakuranga) bt Mark Boulton (Philip Island, Australia) 3/2; Matthew Cormack (Remuera) bt Narash Lala (Titirangi) 6/5.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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