Daniel Pearce’s third win on the Charles Tour
Daniel Pearce racked up his third win on New Zealand’s professional golf circuit when he took out the Akarana Open in Auckland.
The Hawke’s Bay player had rounds of 66, 64, 66 and 65 to finish at impressive 19 under par in last month’s tournament sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson.
Pearce ended up with a comfortable winning margin of three shots. His nearest rival was Gareth Paddison of Wellington who was the tournament’s defending champion.
It was technically Pearce’s second win in a row on the Charles Tour, sponsored by Jennian Homes. The 29-year-old had won the previous Charles Tour event which was the Ngamotu Classic in New Plymouth last October.
Pearce said you can’t beat the thrill of winning.
“It’s a great feeling,’’ he said.
“Winning is always fun and puts a smile on the face, so it was a good day out there today.’'
Pearce said the win came despite a poor tournament with the driver off the tee.
“This gives me a lot of confidence, the game is in pretty good shape and I now know I can win a golf tournament even when I’m hitting the driver so badly.”
It was Pearce’s iron play that stood out through the week as he played the extremely challenging par threes in fine style, which are the strength of the Akarana Golf Club.
“I think I played the par three’s seven or eight under this week, which is something I have never done in a tournament before. To have my iron play going so good was a nice feeling.
“It’s awesome to win out here, the Jennian Homes Charles Tour is a great breeding ground for New Zealand golfers. Without this it’s really hard to progress yourself because we play overseas a lot, but if you’ve got nothing at home to play, to develop yourself and learn how to win, it’s really hard to emulate that when you go overseas.”
The 2018 Akarana Open will also be remembered for the amateur talent on show with 15-year-old Jang Hyun Lee equalling a course record of 61 in the second round, followed by Kevin Koong’s consistency to finish alongside Lee in a tie for third place.
Meanwhile in the women’s division of the tournament, Vivian Lu lead all the way to win her maiden Charles Tour event after fending off a courageous Darae Chung of Wellington to win on the last of the 72 holes.
Lu set up her week with a superb opening round of seven-under par, but had to battle hard in the final round as Chung slowly caught her to co-lead beginning the final day.
Lu looked to have taken control throughout the day before an amazing up and down from the trees by Chung which squared up the lead coming down the last hole. However, he trees weren’t so forgiving on the 18th as they swallowed Chung’s ball which forced a drop, ending the 13-year-old's challenge.
Lu, from Auckland, said after the win: “It feels amazing. I’m very overwhelmed because I started off well, but struggled in the second and third rounds.
“I will learn so much from this week because I was so nervous entering the final day, but it was nice to have my friend caddy for me and my family watching.”