It doesn't get much harder than staring down a 20-foot eagle putt to win your first national golf tournament, but that's exactly what Northland's Luke Brown did on Sunday.
Playing in the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship at the Christchurch Golf Club, Brown battled to make up a two-shot deficit going into the final day on Sunday, trailing defending champion and Canterbury golfer Kazuma Kobori.
Brown, who played out of The Pines Golf Club in Whangārei, made six birdies and a bogey to be five-under at the 16th hole in the final round, leading by two shots. Two bogeys on the 16th and 17th brought the pair on even scores going into the final hole.
Despite a great first-up drive from Kobori, Brown replicated the effort on the par-four, 317-metre 18th and landed on the green, 20 feet from the hole. With the confidence and composure of a seasoned golfer, the 24-year-old sunk the putt and won his first major national title.
"Words can't explain the feeling," Brown said.
"I knew all I needed to do was get the ball rolling on the right line and it would fall in and as soon as I hit it, I knew it was perfect."
Brown finished with a five-under 67 after his eagle on the final hole which was one of his best finishes at a tournament yet. He was consistent throughout the tournament, staying in second place until the final day when he took the lead.
After dropping two shots on the 16th and 17th holes, Brown said he had to pick himself up for the final hole and not focus on his two bogeys.
"I used to be quite bad with it, I'd always allow the situation to get the better of me rather than me getting the better of the situation.
"At the end of the day, it's a golf tournament, if you win or lose it, your life isn't going to change outside of that so it allows you to stand a lot more freely over the ball."
Brown credited Kobori's accurate play as a motivator to play his best golf over the four rounds in what were tough, windy conditions at the start of the tournament.
"Us Northlanders, we are known to just grind out scores and that's all I did, but to shoot five-under in tricky conditions and put a bit of pressure back on [Kobori] was pretty good," he said.
Brown's next events were the Akarana Open and the Muriwai Open in the coming weeks where Brown said he hoped to use this experience to do well in other tournaments.
"In the past I haven't closed some events and I haven't won anything quite of this scale, so it shows me that I can do it in other big events."