Golf: Pro Palmer not giving up his day job

By Daniel Richardson

Craig Palmer of New Zealand plays a shot during day three of the New Zealand PGA Championship at The Hills Golf Club in Queenstown. Photo / Getty Images
Craig Palmer of New Zealand plays a shot during day three of the New Zealand PGA Championship at The Hills Golf Club in Queenstown. Photo / Getty Images

Don't worry, folks, Craig Palmer will still be at his day job this week.

The club pro at The Hills finished in a highly-creditable tie for 21st at nine-under the card at the NZ PGA Championship that finished at the Arrowtown course, near Queenstown yesterday.

Palmer was given a tournament invite to take part in the event - an opportunity he was afforded last year but had to turn down - and he made the most of it as he produced rounds of 71, 69, 68 and 71.

"Emma Hill, who is my boss here said to me when I came off on Saturday: 'Am I going to be getting your resignation on Monday so you can go out and play full-time?'. And I said: 'No sorry, you're stuck with me'," Palmer told APNZ after his final round.

"Because I'm passionate about this club and making the club work and as long as I have the opportunity on two or three occasions to play this sort of event then that's enough for me. I want to be an all-rounder as a golf professional.

I want to manage this club really well from a golf point of view and I want to play well when I can and I want to be able to coach and help the kids that I get."

Palmer finished 10 strokes back from eventual winner Michael Hendry, who defended his championship title with a playoff victory over Australian Scott Strange after the pair finished at 19-under after four rounds.

The 33-year-old Palmer has been the club pro at The Hills for five years and finished alongside some useful company in his share of 21st place as Kiwi professionals Richard Lee and Mark Brown also finished at nine-under, as well as Korean Soon-Sang Hong.

Although Palmer had the clearest of home ground advantages he actually hadn't played a lot in the lead up to the tournament as he had been busy assisting in the operation and set up.

"It certainly helps a lot but I'm more nervous playing here in this tournament than I am in any other tournament that I play in. But the longer I spent out there the more comfortable I felt," he said.

Palmer's efforts saw him net $5,518 but he insisted the cash wasn't on his mind as he went into the weekend.

"I had not even thought about the money and then [Sunday] morning before I teed off I wandered past the notice board and I saw the prize-money breakdown," he said.

"It was the first time I looked at it and I thought 'good heavens, I can do all right out of this'. I'll buy my wife something nice and I'll certainly look after my caddy who's been absolutely fantastic, giving up his week to help me, but that money's just a bonus."

Not bad for four days' work.

- APNZ

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