Amateur golfer Guy Harrison isn't going to be in a hurry to pull out his scorecard after missing the cut for the final six to the inaugural New Zealand All Abilities Championship at the weekend.
But Harrison can show magical photographs after making the most of opportunities to rub shoulders with the likes of All Black Beauden Barrett and retired professional caddie Steve Williams in Queenstown during the championship, held in conjunction with the 101st New Zealand Open.
"I didn't get to meet to many professionals but I caught up with a couple of famous guys like Steve Williams down there," says the 18-year-old from Napier after carding 101 in his only round at the 18-hole, par-72 Jack's Point championship course that weaves through native tussock grasslands to the edge of Lake Wakatipu.
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Harrison says the first round was abandoned after 90km/h winds started whipping but his score on day two left him in 11th place in a field of 14 with a physical and/or mental disability.
Jiri Janda, of Czech Republic, shot rounds of 75 and 78 to finish two shots clear of Kiwi contender Parker Aluesi after 36 holes at the Millbrook course on Sunday. Geoffrey Nicholas, of Australia, was third after the All Abilities field had teed off on the final day ahead of the NZ Open field.
The reigning New Zealand Amputee and Disability Open champion, Harrison says the experience was "awesome" against some world-class opposition.
"I played with one guy from Australia who used to play on the PGA Tour in the first round so that was an awesome experience," says the 8.1 handicapper of Nicholas who was born and raised in Sylvania Waters, a suburb of Sydney. The Aussie had lost a leg to a congenital condition caused by the drug Thalidomide, which had affected both his legs.
Janda, he emphasises, is world No 3 among All Abilities golfers.
Williams was caddying for Ryan Fox, the Kiwi PGA Tour professional who is the son of former All Blacks pivot Grant Fox who also was part of the coaching stable leading New Zealand into the Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
Harrison bumped into Williams — who became famous after lugging the bag for former world No 1 professional Tiger Woods at the peak of his PGA career — while he was having a hit after caddying for Ryan Fox.
"He pretty much wished me good luck and just hoped I would play golf and gave me little tips and things like that."
Barrett was among celebrities such as former Aussie cricketer-cum-TV-commentator Shane Warne in a field of 156 who had teed off in the Pro-Am before the Open.
"With Beauden, I just saw him after he had finished a round so I had asked him for a picture and all that stuff."
Harrison has spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. The Napier Boys' High School graduate is in his first year pursuing a sport and recreation degree at the Eastern Institute of Technology.
He thanks James Glen, a lead adviser at the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, for paving the way to realise the dream of dutifully replacing his divots at the NZ Open.
"James had helped me with organising sponsors," he says of The Clubrooms, of Auckland, which offer the custom fitting gear in addition to club repairs in trying to achieve golfing excellence.
Harrison also is indebted to his parents, teachers Vickie and Keith, for their inspiration and undying support.
"I'm very lucky to have them give me such great opportunities like this."
The former Tamatea Intermediate pupil was diagnosed with his condition at the age of 3 following a "feveral convulsion", which resulted in him losing balance and mobility. He has cheated death a few times.
Intense therapy followed and the youngster showed tremendous determination and courage to make incremental gains to attain athletics, swimming and golfing goals.
He had harboured a desire to represent his country at the Tokyo Paralympics this year but the T35 division athlete — who was New Zealand's open men's para 800 and 1500m champion — had to bail out because the longest distance is 200m. Sprinting isn't his forte.
However, his mother had revealed the hurdles he has had to clear during his life.
"They said he'll never ride a bike — he can," Vickie had told HB Today five years ago. "He can't swim — he swims. He can't write — he does."
Having had a taste last week, Harrison is itching to make the cut for the NZ All Abilities Championship next year.
"This year was a good eye opener for me to be able to play those really nice courses and now I know how hard those courses are going to be next so I'll train up and be ready for it."
Part of the blueprint is to try to tame the quality fairways and greens of the Hastings Golf Club course at Bridge Pa as well as compete at some marquee events around the country, especially North Island.
"That's because The Hills are like No 6 best [in the country] and Jack's Point No 5."
Harrison — who had caddied for Sir Bob Charles at his home course of Napier Golf Club at Waiohiki in 2016 — felt his accuracy was off Queenstown last week.
"I kept finding all the thick stuff which caused me to get high scores so the next time I'm just going to work on keeping the ball in play," he says with a chuckle.
Harrison is satisfied with his chipping and bunker rescue shots.