The hope for a Kiwi win at the 100th New Zealand Open was not to be as Australian Zach Murray got the job done at The Hills after leading all week.
The 21-year-old was on fire from day one and did enough in the end to take out his second professional title by two shots with a four-under 68 to finish on 21-under for the tournament - but he made it a lot harder than it should've been.
Murray was cruising towards the title until the par 4 18th when he got into all sorts of trouble – first losing his drive badly to the right, then over-hitting his second shot way past the green into the tall stuff.
But after cleaning up nicely to make bogey, Murray – who only just turned pro in November last year – claimed the crown and denied any chance of a New Zealand home win.
"I never thought I was going to get off the 18th," he said of his almost-disaster on the last final hole. "I just got a flier on the second shot and didn't know what to think but I'm glad she's all done and dusted and it's been a fantastic week."
Kiwi Josh Geary, who played with Murray in the final pairing, managed to push the Australian towards the end but ultimately couldn't make up the ground he needed, finishing in a tie for second with Australian Ashley Hall at 19-under.
The 34-year-old was disappointed but took the positives from what he says is a transitional point in his career.
"It is my first event for three months and it came with a lot of changes to the swing over the last six months," he said after his round. "Overall I am really happy with the week. It was a shame I lost a bit of momentum today.
"Overall my game is very close. My putting came back to how it was this week and overall my game is back."
The top-ranked New Zealander in the field Ryan Fox finished strong with a five-under 67 but was made to rue a disappointing day three that left him too far behind the leaders to finish six behind Murray.
"You take nine holes out yesterday afternoon and it was a pretty good week," he said. "Obviously the scoring is red hot again today and nine holes took me out of the tournament really. But the rest of it I played a lot of good golf. I felt like I had a chance and as I said was just not quite there yesterday."
Harry Bateman and Steven Alker were the other New Zealanders who came close, both finishing at 16-under to finish in a tie for fifth.