Australian golfer Jake Higginbottom has broken a 56-year drought to become the first amateur to win the New Zealand Open since Harry Berwick triumphed in 1956.
The 19-year-old Higginbottom fired a five-under 67 at Clearwater today to finish at seven-under as he banked a one-shot win over compatriots Peter Wilson and Jason Norris who shared second place.
Kiwi Mark Brown, who held a three-shot lead heading into the final round, faded down the back nine as he shot a one-over 73 to finish fourth.
The next best New Zealander in the field was Richard Lee, who quietly crept up the standings with a three-under 69 today, to finish fifth at three-under.
Mahal Pearce and Michael Hendry were the best-placed Kiwis after Lee as they finished in a share of 10th at even par.
Conditions were ideal for the most of the day as the wind never got up as some forecasts suggested it would.
Only nine golfers finished under the card for the tournament that had a purse of AUS$400,000 (NZD $508,038) with a winner's cheque of NZD $91,447 that Higginbottom isn't eligible to collect due to his amateur status.
Norris and Wilson will split the prize money for first and second place.
- APNZBy Daniel Richardson of APNZ in Christchurch