Luke Brown prevails in dramatic finish to NZ Strokeplay

Whangarei golfer Luke Brown with his trophy after winning the New Zealand Strokeplay in Christchurch

Whangarei golfer Luke Brown with his trophy after winning the New Zealand Strokeplay in Christchurch

Luke Brown created a memory of a lifetime when finishing with an eagle two on the last hole to win the New Zealand Strokeplay Championship at the Christchurch Golf Club.

After starting the final day two shots behind Kazuma Kobori, Brown found himself with a three-shot lead with three holes to play.

However, bogeys on 16 and 17 coupled with a clutch Kobori birdie added immense pressure as they entered the drivable par four 18th all square.

After the two-shot swing, Brown collected himself to then produce the perfect drive and leave himself 20 feet for eagle to take home the title in front of a packed clubhouse.

As Kobori had done so often over the previous three weeks he came up with another stunning putt for birdie to force Brown to make his putt which he did.

It was the 24-year-old’s first national title and it probably took some time to sink in after what had been a tough 18 months with injuries.

“I’m still trying to come to terms with it, it was quite an emotional finish so to get over the line was pretty amazing,” a relieved Brown said.

“Getting out to a three-shot lead, then giving it back was tough but to be able to sink that putt after he made his was special and something I will never forget.”

After nearly turning professional last year, Brown will be pleased with his decision as he now etches his name into the history books of the biggest amateur strokeplay event in the country.

Christchurch has been a happy hunting ground for the now Whangarei-based Brown having won the Interprovicial Championship with his Northland team in December, to return to the Garden City and win on the individual stage.

The scenes that were produced on the final day wouldn’t have been possible without the class of Kobori who after winning the New Zealand PGA Championship two weeks previously was in the form of his life.

Although he finished just short, this was still a great week for the 17-year-old who continues to build an impressive resume.

Fellow Cantabrian, Matt McLean took out third place showing that the strength of golf in the mainland is in a good place.