Wellingtonians Feature Strongly at Akarana Event
Paddison Prevails in Marathon Playoff
Overnight leader Gareth Paddison has won his second Barfoot & Thompson Akarana Open after an enthralling four-hole playoff against New Zealand Open Champion, Michael Hendry.
The now two-time champion made a crucial birdie on the 72nd hole to force what was the longest playoff ever seen on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour.
After three matching pars and near misses throughout the playoff, it took yet another clinical approach shot from Paddison that resulted in a tap-in birdie to win in front of a boisterous local crowd.
This is a special victory for Paddison who deserved his hard-fought win after showing consistency throughout the week.
“I’m ecstatic with this victory and to finally come through with another win on the Jennian Homes Charles tour is very special,” beamed Paddison.
“The pride of winning this and especially beating Mike was a challenging obstacle and I couldn’t be happier.”
Paddison started the final day with a three-shot lead but it was quickly wiped away from the now two-time champion, with birdies and eagles dropping everywhere from Henry Spring, Mark Brown and Daniel Hillier who applied massive pressure.
“Mark [Brown], Mike [Hendry] and Henry [Spring] were all coming at me and when I looked at the leaderboard through 14, I knew I had to pull the finger out and that’s what you practise for.”
“I haven’t had the results around the world like Mike and Mark so there’s a lot of pride on the line when I stand on the tee with a three shot-lead so it’s going to give me massive confidence heading into Muriwai.”
Paddison was the only player to make a birdie over the final six holes with crucial chances taken on both the 14th and 18th, which were also his only two birdies of the day after 13 straight pars. This may have cost Hendry the title after being six-under through 12 holes and not able to push even deeper.
The chasing pack put up a huge fight and none more so than Henry Spring who’s nearly brilliant round will be remembered for an unfortunate penalty late in the day when he made an incorrect drop. The Bay of Plenty amateur showed great signs and will take a lot from playing alongside the country’s best.
The Akarana Golf club was treated to sporting theatre this week courtesy of some of our most successful golfers going head to head. To have Hendry, Brown, Geary and Paddison returning to play in these events is a big boost for golf in New Zealand.
In the women’s field, Hanee Song completed a dominant win at the Akarana Open which was her first as a professional golfer..
It looked in doubt after she four-putted on the par three eighth, but she then showed class to make an impressive eagle on the tenth to bounce back and win the tournament by four shots.
“It feels great, it’s my first win on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour and my first win as a professional, so it feels good,” said Song.
“I made a four-putt on the hole before that, so it certainly helped me turn it round.”
Carmin Lim gave it her best shot and was tied with Song for most of the round before the experience of the new Akarana Open winner came to the floor.
This meant Auckland’s Lim finished in a tie for second with Bay of Plenty number one Alanna Campbell, who didn’t fire this week. With rounds of 74, 66, 72 and 70 (Par 72) it was a well-deserved win for Song and she will have the favourites tag heading into the Muriwai Open next week.
Today was a great advertisement for golf in New Zealand, not only at the elite level, but also for talent development and these events are supplying the perfect platform for them to grow.
With back to back Jennian Homes Charles Tour events, the field will be very similar at the Muriwai Links next week, so expect more drama in just seven days time.