He's the hot new name in New Zealand golf.
Kiwi fans will be tracking Denzel Ieremia's progress in the professional ranks with a lot more interest after a couple of great tournaments in Australia.
The 23-year-old from Hamilton was sixth in the NSW Open then finished in a tie for fifth at the Australian Open near Sydney.
The former Eisenhower Trophy representative honed his game at Iowa State University, and played his first professional tournament in Queensland early this year.
Ieremia has some famous family sporting connections in former All Black and Hurricanes back Alama Ieremia, who coaches the Blues, and the ex- Silver Fern-turned-TV presenter April Ieremia.
And for a good golfing omen, his family hails from Titahi Bay, home to the 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell.
Ieremia chats to the NZ Herald as he prepares for next week's PGA Champoinship on the gold Coast.
How did you rate your prospects going into the Australian Open?
I go into very tournament trying to win, regardless of what game I have. I think that if I can perform at my best, I can win.
What were the low and high points?
I don't know about low points, but there were plenty of high points…so many moments when I showed resilience and hung in there.
Probably the highest point was when I holed a 20 foot putt for a double bogey in the last round on the 15th hole. That was really big.
I pulled my tee shot left, hit it in the bunker and someone didn't rake the bunker. I ended up having a few chips then holed the putt which fired me up to finish strong. In a funny way, that double bogey was one of my best points of the week.
Please rake that sand…
That's golf. You get bad breaks, like when you hit it down the middle of the fairway and end up in someone's divot. You've got to roll with the punches, deal with the adversity.
Is rolling with the punches one of your strengths?
Yes, absolutely, it's a big mental edge that I have. I don't get fazed by much.
I learnt in the States that golf is a tough game, more things will go the opposite way to what you want. A big key to staying consistent through four rounds and multiple weeks is understanding that things aren't going to go your way and figuring out your best options without attaching too much emotion to it.
I think it comes a bit with my personality, it comes with the way you live life. Do the best you can with everything you do and understand that when things don't go your way there's another way to do it.
You hit the ball long…
I drive it long and straight. When the driver is on, I can set myself up with a lot of birdie opportunities. I really want to improve my short game. That's the big area for me – that's my little project.
That's a few of things I learnt form Louis (Oosthuizen), (Cameron) Trengale and (Marc) Leishman at the Australian Open. I asked them a lot of questions about their short game because they were unbelievable.
I felt my driving was better than theirs, that my ball striking was at their level. But their short games were a lot better than mine.
So those older blokes are willing to help a guy on the rise?
It is something I have found on tour, that everyone is willing to share bits of gold. When you beat someone when they are playing good, you know you are better than them. So everyone wants everyone else to play well.
Leishman had some really nice words. He said keep doing what you're doing, enjoy the ride, and you will be on the PGA tour soon. He said to stay hungry and aggressive in preparation and practice, and good things will come. We didn't discuss technique – most of it was the mental approach.
Did you have a boyhood hero?
Tiger Woods has always been my idol. Just the way he played golf.
As the story goes, you found golf at the age of one.
That's what mum and dad tell me – I was in a high chair watching a Greg Norman video. I started whacking stuff around the house with little sticks when I was really young. Mum and dad bought me a little plastic set, and I started beating balls around the house. Then dad found an old wood which he cut in half for me.
Your family is from…
Mum and dad (Marina and Lela) are from Titahi Bay, Porirua – I was raised in Johnsonville and we moved to Hamilton when I was four or five.
Mum is from the Cook Islands, her dad is European, mostly Irish. Dad's family is Samoan. I think grandma on dad's side was maybe half Chinese.
Who are your coaches?
Reon Sayer, who is based at St Peters in Cambridge, has been my primary golf/swing coach since I was 14. I was still referring back to him when I was at Iowa…that has its challenges but if you have a good enough system, (long distance coaching) works and it works for us. We do a whole bunch of videos and Face Time. With technology these days you are able to do that. We speak the same language – our understanding is at a similar level.
My coach at Iowa was Andrew Tanks and his assistant Chad Keohane. They helped develop my mental game and strategy, my golf IQ. A big part of the game is having a good team around you. I'm very fortunate.
What are your major aims?
I would love to play on the PGA Tour and win majors.
Where will you be based?
Mum and dad are letting me come home (in Hamilton) which is nice. If I manage to get back to the States I will look to stay in Iowa for the first wee while. It gets a bit cold in winter though so it would be nice to go somewhere warmer.