Wellington professional Mark Brown turned on a master-class in the final round of the Carrus Open at the Tauranga Golf Club to claim the title by four shots today in fine, hot conditions.
The former European Tour professional, who began the final round four shots back from the overnight leader Blair Riordan, carded an eight-under par 62 to win by four from Taupo professional Troy Ropiha.
Brown came fast out of the blocks and was six under through seven holes to claim the lead in the defining stretch of the tournament.
The 36-year-old recorded his second win on The Charles Tour after claiming the Taranaki Open in 2006 which jump-started his career back into life and was the catalyst for his Asian Tour and European Tour success. To win again was a special feeling.
"It sounds awesome to be the Carrus Open champion," he said.
"I haven't won for a while since I won a couple of titles in 2008 and even though you play bigger tournaments around the world you still feel the pressures of trying to close it out and win a golf tournament so that was pleasing what I have been working on stood up under that pressure."
Third-round leader Riordan felt the pressure. The 22-year-old amateur from Takaka faded in the final round with a six-over par 76 in the final round to finish in a share of fourth place and local amateur.
Brad Kendall claimed the leading amateur honour, and third place, by two shots.
But it was Brown's performance that locals and pros were talking about over their beers in the afternoon sun.
Brown had the start he had been looking for all week. He birdied the first, drove the third green for a two-putt birdie, birdied four and six and then made eagle from 40 feet on the par 5 7th to jump into the outright lead.
When he made birdie on the famous par three 12th, The Knoll, to get to eight under Brown admitted that he did start thinking of shooting his first sub 60 round to match the course record of Richard Lee in 2010.
"I did think of shooting 59 throughout the round but it was difficult. But I had to close the tournament out first and I hit a couple of irons off the tee to make sure I did that. I buttoned back a bit but by the same token I needed three more so that was going to be pretty difficult anyway."
In the women's field, Rebecca Tsai entered the Carrus Open as a 12 handicapper but she walked away with the trophy.
The Otago golfer, who comes back to New Zealand occasionally after living in Los Angeles with her family, carded a one-over par 73 in the final round to win by two shots from Bay golfer Susan Lines (75).
Tsai capped off her win in style with a fortuitous approach shot to the 18th to within three feet and made the putt for a birdie and two shot and the biggest win of her career. The 16-year-old had rounds of 77, 73, 72 and 73 for a seven over par total and an unexpected win.
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