Golf: Kiwi takes out Pro-Am

Michael Hendry. Photo / File
Michael Hendry. Photo / File

New Zealand golfer Michael Hendry has won the PGA Tour of Australasia's inaugural New Zealand PGA Pro-Am Championship in Arrowtown.

Hendry fired a final round four under par 68, to finish two shots clear of the field.

The 32-year-old had looked on course for a comfortable victory through 15 holes, when he led by three shots. However, a quadruple bogey at the tricky 16th hole handed the lead back to third round leader Andrew Martin and set up a grand-stand finish.

Hendry drew level again with a birdie at 17 and saved par at the last before having to wait for Martin to finish his round. The 27-year-old Aussie then struck trouble on 17 and posted bogey, leaving him with the tough task of needing to birdie the last to force a play-off. It wasn't to be, with Martin struggling to another bogey to drop back to a share of second place with New Zealand's Mark Brown at 14 under par.

It's the second biggest win of Hendry's career, following his victory in the 2010 Indonesia Open on the OneAsia tour. However, he said the victory at The Hills was the sweeter of the two.

"Winning in Indonesia was satisfying because it was my first win but being able to win at home in front of friends and family and putting my name on that cup which has been one of my goals ever since I turned professional is just awesome,'' said Hendry.

"I felt the love out there. I had a lot of people as I was walking off greens saying `come on Mike you can do it, keep it going, you're playing great'. You don't often get that overseas.''

Hendry now has a two-week break before heading to China for the European Tour and One Asia co-sanctioned Volvo China Open.

After leading for the second and third round Andrew Martin was disappointed to have finished in a share for second.

"I guess a little disappointed, probably more disappointed not to finish outright second,'' said Martin who also finished in a share for second at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship last month.

When he reclaimed the lead after Hendry's disastrous 16th quadruple bogey Martin had miscalculated the score and went on to bogey the 17th.

"I actually thought that Mike and I were both on 16 under when I was on the 17th, so I thought I need to go for it.

"Little did I know he was on 15 under after the par 3, if I had it probably would have changed things.

"To have a chance coming home considering what happened mid round was good; another good week put it in the memory bank and wait until the next one.''

In the inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship Australian pro Peter Cooke teamed up with Jason Hughes to take out the win. But the shot of the day went to Hollywood actor Don Cheadle when he aced the notorious par 3 16th hole.

"I hit the middle of the green and it fed down the hill and just kept rolling and went into the cup. I didn't even see it. I just looked up and saw people jumping up and down and screaming. It was great because my kids were there and my wife was there so that was a lot of fun. It's my first one. 200 witnesses _ I owe a lot of drinks.''

Cheadle is planning on returning next year with some of his golf buddies to see if lightning really does strike twice.

- APNZ

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