When Gulf Harbour teaching pro Dong Woo Kang hit a three iron 193m to within 15 feet of the hole on the par three 14th hole at the Mt Maunganui Golf Club yesterday he sort of knew it was going to be his day.
The Pump Mount Pro-Am used a shotgun start whereby the field starts from various holes around the course. Kang and his amateur teammates began on the tough 14th and the 30-year-old then made the most of the fine tee shot by holing the putt for birdie.
Kang was on his way to an eight-under-par round of 64 and his second victory on the NZPGA Pro-Am circuit, backing up his win at Kaikoura last October. It was worth $1684.
He finished one shot ahead of three players who returned 65 – Oscar Cadenhead, of Christchurch, New Plymouth's Troy Ropiha and John Bae, of North Harbour.
Local favourite Josh Geary wasn't far off the pace with a five-under 67, but Mark Brown, who's played a busy schedule in Australia in recent weeks, returned an over par 72.
Kang's round included nine birdies and just one bogey which came on the short par four 10th hole. He missed the green, chipped close but somehow missed a one foot putt.
Apart from his first hole of the day, the real highlight came close to the end of his round on the long par five 12th.
The back tees were in play and the hole measured 527m. Kang hit a three wood from 263m for his second shot. It finished 30 feet from the hole and he nailed it for eagle. It turned out to be the shot that won him the tournament.
Pre-tournament favourite Geary was happy with his five-under par round, which was bogey free.
"I'm probably hitting it the best I've ever hit" he said afterwards.
"I just didn't hole that many putts."
The European Tour pro, who played his amateur golf out of the Mt Maunganui club, thinks he'll still get up to a dozen starts on the European Tour next year despite just failing to keep his playing card.
"I'll be playing the Vic Open and the Perth International in February, so I just need some good results to keep getting in the big tournaments."
The Pump Mount Pro-Am was the final event of the NZPGA Pro-Am circuit. Tasman's Ryan Chisnall, who shot a 68 yesterday, finished as the Order of Merit winner.
Pump Mount Pro-Am Scores
Dong Woo Kang 64, Oscar Cadenhead, Troy Ropiha, John Bae 65, Josh Geary, Victor Janin, Ben Guilford, Sam An 67.