Golf: Wilson's cautious play pays off

By Peter Thorley

Kerikeri's Scott Wilson upset the book to win his second Northland Champion of Champions strokeplay title on Sunday - with both wins coming at the Whangaroa Golf Club.

Wilson said he played conservatively and a lot of players had ended up carding big scores on the course which seemed friendlier than it was.

"People underestimate how difficult Whanagaroa can be and there are a lot of risk and reward holes so you can come unstuck pretty quickly," he said.

The high scores by some very good players were testament to that and Wilson wasn't quite immune to its temptations in the end.

He was cruising after a rare sub par first round - a one-under 69 - had him ahead of the pack at the turn.

On the par four second hole he attempted a drive to the green and ended up regretting it, shooting a nine.

"I was six ahead of Bob Shirley until that hole and we walked away level after he got a birdie," Wilson explained.

He went back to a more conservative approach and finished up with a second round of 75 - good enough to win by four shots.

The win kept the Pines' Champion and Northland No1 Luke Brown from making a clean sweep of all the major Northland titles this year, with Wellsford's Brad Bonnington third.

"I was pretty happy with the way I played.

"I found it pretty easy in the morning but it was a bit tougher in the afternoon when the wind came up," he said.

The Bay of Islands champion - who beat Northland No2 Alex Neely to represent his club at the tournament - has been in good form recently, travelling away with the Northland Masters Team at the recent interprovincials in Napier.

His ability to hit straight under pressure saw him win seven out of his eight matches at the contest; a rare feat playing against some very experienced golfers, particularly up against scratch golfers from the bigger centres.

Wilson said he absolutely had to thank his caddy at Whangaroa on Sunday, Alan Wright, who drew a few laughs from fellow competitors.

"They were cracking up because he was reading my putts while still sitting in the golf cart ... but it worked out all right in the end," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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