Hawke’s Bay local storms home to win NZ under-19 championship
A brilliant finish of birdies on the last two holes saw local boy Mako Thompson snatch victory in the New Zealand Age Group Championship at the Hastings Golf Club in Hawke’s Bay.
Thompson, from the nearby Maraenui Golf Club in Napier but also a Hastings club member, did not make a great start to the final round of the tournament.
He was two over par after the first nine holes but all that changed over the final nine holes, including an eagle on the par five 10th hole.
“I don’t normally take driver on that hole,’’ Thompson recalled.
“But I then stuck a three iron in there and backed it up with a 15-foot putt, so it was a fun start to the back nine.”
Birdies on the last two holes saw Thompson finish the last nine holes at three under par to take victory in the senior division of the tournament, the under-19 grade, by one stroke.
“I’m very happy after a shaky start with a couple of bogeys on the front nine, but coming home in 33 was pretty cool and very happy with the birdie, birdie finish.”
The tournament, first played in 1962, has been won by the likes of Greg Turner (1981), Michael Campbell (1987), Michael Long (1988), Adam Scott (1996), Steven Bowditch (2000) and Jason Day (2004).
Thompson said he was honoured his name would be etched alongside them on the trophy.
“I’m absolutely stoked, I have looked at all the names on this trophy, so to be part of that sort of company is awesome.’’
Meanwhile it was no surprise that the women’s under-19 division was won by Ayean Cho from Korea.
She had recently made the cut in an LPGA Tour event and went on to win by five shots at Hastings.
Cho had started the final day tied for the lead with Amelia Garvey from Canterbury. But the two-horse race soon became one after Cho’s experience and class came to the fore with a four-under par front nine.
Her composed round of five-under, which included an eagle on the par four eighth hole, proved why she is inside the top 50 amateurs in the world.
She finished the tournament with a total of 14-under over three rounds.