Hillier a Charles Tour winner at age 17

Daniel Hillier has become the youngest male to win on New Zealand’s primary professional golf circuit, the Charles Tour.

The Wellington 17-year-old won the Harewood Open in Christchurch to continue an outstanding 2015.

Earlier in the year he had won the New Zealand Amateur Championship at the Titirangi Golf Club in Auckland and five months later he added the New Zealand Under-19 Championship at Shandon in Wellington.

No more stunned at Hillier’s win in the Harewood Open was the player himself.

“Wow, what a week,’’ Hillier said.

``I’m over the moon, it’s been an amazing experience. I never thought I would be standing here as the winner this week.”

Hillier had scores of 71, 66, 72 and 68 to finish at 11 under par. Because of Hillier’s amateur status the winner’s purse went to Waikato professional Jim Cusdin who was one shot back in second place.

Hillier’s win didn’t come without stress after he made a double bogey on the 13th hole on the last day. That changed the leaderboard dramatically to then have a three-way tie for the lead alongside Cusdin and Martin Pettigrew.

Cusdin had six birdies on the front nine to put the pressure on Hillier but Cusdin's second nine was mixed with brilliance and disappointment.

Cusdin had a double bogey on the 16th hole and then followed up by a holing out for eagle on 17 and topped it off with a birdie on 18.

Hillier was well aware of Cusdin’s challenge.

“Looking at the scoreboards I saw that Jim was playing well and felt him coming,” Hiller recalled.

“But I was feeling good as well and managed to keep it together coming down the stretch.”

Hillier responded to Cusdin in style after his hiccup on the 13th. He had three birdies in the last five holes to shut out his challenger.

“My double (bogey) on the 13th came out of nowhere. I was playing solid up until then, but to finish the way I did after that was the best part of it without a doubt,” Hillier said.

The win was clearly a highlight for Hillier but he was only looking forward to achieving more.

“It’s definitely right up there with my two wins earlier in the year, certainly my best strokeplay victory. But hopefully I can keep tracking the way I am and do it again in the near future.”

Sir Bob Charles, after whom the Charles Tour is named, was on course to watch the drama unfold and enjoyed what he saw from the new champion.

“It’s great to see the young talent in New Zealand playing well on the tour,” said Sir Bob

“I watched young Daniel through the back nine and he had a bit of a slip up on 13, but to re-gather with three birdies after that was very impressive.”

Meanwhile in the women’s division of the Harewood Open, victory went to Chantelle Cassidy who had won the same tournament the previous year.

On both occasions Cassidy has won easily. In 2014 her winning margin was 13 shots and this year it was eight with scores of 74, 65, 71 and 72 to finish at six under par.

 

“I’m really happy with how I played,’’ Cassidy said.

``I stuck to the game plan (on the final day) and a couple of nice up and downs helped me along the way.”

2015 John Jones Steel Harewood Men’s Open

Harewood Golf Club (Par 72) Scores

277 Daniel Hillier (Manor Park) 71 66 72 68

278 Jim Cusdin (P) 71 68 71 68

279 Martin Pettigrew (P) 71 69 71 68

280 Shaun Jones (P) 72 70 68 70

281 Blair Riordan (P) 72 70 73 66

283 Jared Pender (P) 72 70 71 70

284 Fraser Wilkin (P) 71 71 70 72, Oscar Cadenhead (Clearwater) 74 70 68 72

285 Craig Palmer (P) 70 76 70 69, Doug Holloway (P) 71 72 70 72, Brad Shilton (P) 69 70 71 75

286 Dominic Barson (P) 75 70 73 68, Vaughan McCall (Gore) 73 71 70 72, Kieran Muir (P) 69 71 68 78

287 Nick Gillespie (P) 74 75 67 71, Grant Moorhead (P) 72 73 71 71, Cody Harper (P) 71 75 69 72, Sam An (P) 72 71 71 73

288 Mathew John Tautari (Southland) 71 73 74 70, Daniel Pearce (P) 71 68 73 76, Ryan Chisnall (Greenacres) 69 72 70 77

289 Nic Kay (Coringa Inc.) 70 70 79 70, Troy Ropiha (P) 73 69 77 70, Inia Logan (Wakatipu Junior) 75 68 74 72, Victor Janin (P) 74 71 72 72, Tom Parker (Russley) 74 68 74 73, John Bae (P) 76 72 68 73, Pieter Zwart (P) 72 68 76 73, Woonchul Na (P) 75 70 70 74

290 Peter Lee (P) 74 73 75 68, Leighton James (P) 71 71 78 70

291 Brenden Stuart (P) 72 74 73 72

292 Craig Hamilton (P) 74 74 75 69, Grant Guerin (United Kingdom) 75 71 73 73, Nathan Kim (Gulf Harbour Country Club) 69 71 77 75

293 Dean Sipson (P) 69 73 76 75

294 Jake Hallinan (Weedons Country Club) 73 76 74 71, Matthew McLean (Harewood) 74 70 76 74, Henry Spring (Whakatane) 72 74 74 74, Joonsang Chung (P) 76 71 72 75, Craig Mitchell (P) 70 71 75 78

295 Scott Hill (P) 73 73 77 72

296 Brad Hayward (P) 76 75 73 72, Steven Heyes (P) 76 75 72 73

297 James Devlin (P) 72 78 76 71

298 Henry Bryden (Russley) 74 72 77 75

299 Hayden Beard (P) 75 73 72 79, Reid Hilton (Russley) 73 68 74 84

301 Peter Giles (P) 73 77 76 75, James Cadenhead (Clearwater) 76 74 76 75, Josh Smith (Tinwald) 75 73 76 77

302 James Oh (P) 80 69 74 79

305 Jonti Philipson (P) 76 74 77 78

306 Shaun Hewitt (P) 71 77 76 82

307 Hiroki Miya (Russley) 77 74 79 77, Matthew Grimes (Nelson Inc.) 77 75 76 79

2015 John Jones Steel Harewood Women’s Open

Harewood Golf Club (Par 72) Scores

282 Chantelle Cassidy (Riverside) 74 65 71 72

289 Alanna Campbell (Omanu) 70 72 77 70

291 Catherine Bell (Christchurch) 70 74 76 71

293 Momoka Kobori (Rangiora) 73 70 75 75

294 Amelia Garvey (Kaiapoi) 74 74 72 74

296 Ela Grimwood (Gulf Harbour Country Club) 75 73 75 73, Vyan Park (Gulf Harbour Country Club) 75 71 76 74, Grace Senior (Wairakei International Golf Course) 73 75 73 75

298 Hillary O'Connor (Russley) 73 77 73 75

301 Jasmine Rou (Russley) 75 75 77 74

303 Monica Tulisi (P) 74 73 81 75, Juliana Hung (Russley) 74 76 77 76

154 Darae Chung (Shandon) 80 74, Angela Gerken (Invercargill) 73 81

159 Jessica Crosbie (Harewood) 84 75

185 Anne Osment (Lumsden) 95 90