Rotorua hosted the New Zealand Minigolf Open for the first time at the weekend and competition at the top of the Pro Division was fierce.
After finishing third last year, Auckland's Cameron Couper proved consistency was key on his way to the national title. He led for most of the eight rounds, held at Lumberjax Minigolf over the weekend, but had the chasing pack hot on his heels the whole way.
"I'm over the moon, I came third last year so it's nice to get over the line and get one in there," Couper said.
Couper set a new course record of 30 in round two on Saturday and at the halfway mark sat in first, an impressive 29-under par. Chasing him, going into day two, were James Astrop on 15-under par and Darren Prole on 12-under par.
However, Couper's course record barely lasted 24 hours as a new title-contender emerged yesterday. Another Aucklander, Jacques van Zyl, shot a remarkable 29 in round six to claim the record. He then shot 30, including five aces in a row, in round seven to put himself right into contention going into the final round.
Couper held on though, finishing the weekend with a total score of 263, 57-under par. He also claimed the trophy for the most aces (hole-in-ones) with 36.
Van Zyl finished second with a total of 271, 49-under par, and Cam Rope was third with a total of 281, 39-under par.
Couper said he was feeling the pressure on day two.
"Jacques played well, particularly in those last rounds with 29 and 30, so coming into that last round there was a bit of pressure, but I managed to start well so that eased the nerves a bit.
"I kept calm, which is always a good thing, and stuck to my lines. I practised for a couple of days, thought about what I wanted to do and just stuck to that, no matter how bad or good I was playing."
He said the $1000 in prize money he won would come in handy, having just forked out $850 for motorbike repairs. He will now look ahead to a few local events in Auckland before flying to China for the minigolf World Championships.
Despite not quite crossing the line in first, van Zyl said he was happy with his performance throughout the weekend.
"After the first day it was actually really tough, we were so far behind Cam, who won it. I was really happy today, I managed to make some in roads on the second and third rounds today and broke the course record - that really helped.
"In the last round, I managed to ace the first hole and put some pressure on Cam but he managed to hold his nerve."
It was the first time the New Zealand Minigolf Open has been held outside Auckland and van Zyl said the course in Rotorua was "great".
"There's a lot of ace opportunities out there, so as long as you can not make too many mistakes on some of the holes, make your twos and get the odd ace, then you're in with a chance.
"The most important thing was to keep consistent and make sure you don't make any mistakes."
New Zealand Minigolf Open Results
1st Cameron Couper
2nd Jacques van Zyl
3rd Cam Rope
1st Shontelle Williams
2nd Nadia Wiseman
3rd Emi Steedman
1st Craig Bowyer
2nd Dan Gardner
3rd Peter Scott
1st Ryan Maguire
2nd Lola Telfer
3rd Tomas Astrop
Parent & Youth:
1st Kiss Our Aces - James & Tomas Astrop
2nd Mcweasel - Matty & Ryan Maguire
3rd Telfer - Gerard & Lola Telfer
Best Dressed: Tomas Astrop