The summer of golf is coming to an end as we reach the Muriwai Open and what a summer it has been under the new sponsorship of Jennian Homes.
Young and old have won events throughout the year and some in dramatic fashion, but they all still play off for the same prize at the end of the week, The Jennian homes Trophy.
In its debut season the trophy has been hotly contested and with one event remaining Kieran Muir has jumped in front after a dominant four shot victory at the Akarana Open. However, Muir has travelled to Perth for the Western Australian Open and will miss the chance to be the first name engraved on the Sir Bob Charles masterpiece.
Que Jim Cusdin. The Bay of Plenty professional has been leading the standings for the majority of the year and will be looking to finish strongly on the links of Muriwai. Cusdin will not be the only one looking to cash in as every player in the top 22 has a mathematical chance of winning and much like the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour, this looks like it will come down to the final hole of the year to find a winner.
Nick Gillespie, Brad Shilton and Joonsang Chung have been grinding it out all season and are all right in contention purely from playing consistent events on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.
The 2015 Muriwai Open champion Daniel Pearce shot what was arguably one of the best rounds seen in the tours history with an almost unfathomable seven under par 65 in conditions that caused multiple delays with wind and rain belting the course, this gave him a five stroke advantage after only 18 holes.
His round would prove vital as he was slowly caught in a drama filled final round where Doug Holloway, Mark Brown and Joshua Munn all put pressure on the Ashburton professional. Pearce managed to hold his nerve and record his maiden victory at the Autex Muriwai Open.
He will return this week to defend his title and with confidence.
"It's my first chance to defend a national tournament this week and I can't wait to take on the challenge," said Pearce.
"I am happy with where my game is at after a few weeks of consistent golf and feeling pretty confident I can give it a good run again this week and hopefully have a shot at the new Jennian Homes Trophy as well."
There is no shortage of notables in the field where we will see appearances from both ends of the age scale. Veteran Richard Lee is returning for the first time this season and hasn't played at Muriwai since the event last year. Lee has had a great career in New Zealand and even though he has been away from the game, the 42 year old is the type of player that could produce magic.
Too add to the equation, one of the best amateurs seen in recent years Daniel Hillier will attempt to win his second title on the tour this weekend after making history at Harewood and his sixth win in the past 18 months. Hillier won the Australian Junior Championship two weeks ago in superb fashion and now gets the chance to play in the Emirates Australian Open hosted by Royal Sydney Golf Club in November.
With storylines galore the Autex Muriwai Open is shaping up to be an exciting week to end the great golfing summer.