Hole lot of golf


Tee for two

Tui’s brewery girls should be very afraid. New NZ Open sponsor Heineken diverted spectators’ eyes by employing Holly Carran (left) and Fatima Conaglen as their on-course ambassadors for the event.

The duo were looking forward to meeting the worldwide beer maker’s Dutch-based brand projects boss Hans-Erik Tuijt on the last day, but he missed his connecting flight from Amsterdam.

He’ll rue that missed flight…





Local lawyer practises caddying

Queenstown lawyer Stephen Brent (right) socialises at Lone Star with Canadian golfer Ian Leggatt, whom he caddied for at The Hills.

Leg­­­­­gatt shot a 64 – the NZ Open’s second-lowest score – on the Friday, which got him through to the weekend. This included holing out of a bunker by the 18th green for the last of his eight birdies.

He faded at the weekend to finish equal-39th.




Moo-ving heaven and earth?

Wanaka’s Upper Clutha A & P Show organisers wrote to New Zealand Golf asking if they could change the dates of the NZ Open to accommodate their event, confirms director Geoff Saunders.

He adds: “A lady in Wanaka suggested to me when I was there two weeks ago that we do not play on the Saturday so as not to clash with their show.”

Saunders reckons the Lakes district “was big enough for both of us”.


Sister act

Swedish golfer Jonas Blixt had his better-looking sister Caroline (right) caddie for him.

After acknowledging the Sunday crowd’s applause on the 18th green, equal-12th-placed finisher Blixt hurled his ball their way in time-honoured fashion, which caused one wag to holler:

“You can throw in your caddie, too!” Roger that.




Holy albatross, Welshman!

After his spectacular ace at the par-four 15th at The Hills last Sunday, Welshman Richard Johnson (right, centre) met two locals who’ve also scored holes in one this year – Mike Searle (left) and Nev Stirling, who both drilled the first hole at the nearby Arrowtown course.

Searle’s hole-in-one was in mid-January and Stirling’s in mid-February, but neither ended up with Johnston’s booty of 1500 Heineken bottles – the prize up for grabs at the NZ Open from the hole’s sponsor.

Jono Jackson, a friend of Searle and Stirling, also deserves a mention because he witnessed all three aces.

Arrowtowner Ewan Edgerton was among those who saw Johnson’s 301-metre shot, which he described to friends that night as one of his life’s sporting highlights.

Sadly, the popular Arrowtown builder and keen rugby follower died suddenly early the next morning.

Don’t expect to see any TV highlights of the hole-in-one – cameras were still setting up at the 15th at the time.

Doubtless if they’d captured it on film, the rare albatross – three under par – would have been replayed around the world and been swooped on by the beer maker.

But someone who was quite nonplussed about the hole – boom, boom – affair was author Sarah Kate-Lynch, who did see it. Her comment later to someone was: “But don’t they all try to do that?”



Final say

Third-round leader Martin Piller putts on the 18th in the final pairing of the NZ Open at The Hills on Sunday.

His final-day four-under-par 68 gave him runner-up spot behind countryman Alex Prugh, who blasted a 64 to claim a three-shot win




Hi, I’m Richie McCoochy-Coo

Injured All Black captain Richie McCaw (right) made the most of his time on the sidelines by heading for The Hills – clubhouse, that is.

He’s snapped with local mum and former Winter Olympics ski racer Erika Harris (nee McLeod), her four-month-old Hugo and her mother-in-law Gail Harris.

Erika’s Aussie-born husband Mark Harris – away in Australia last weekend – made sure his wife told McCaw that Hugo’s great-grandfather Percy Penman was a Wallaby.

Thankfully mum has an All Black kit sitting alongside full Wallaby battle dress in the little bloke’s wardrobe.




Unlucky for some

Thirteen items landed in the lost property box during a golf tournament that ran over Black Friday.

By the end of play last Sunday, spectators at the NZ Open lost two mobile phones, five pairs of
sunglasses, two sweaters, a digital music player, a glasses case and one pair of prescription spectacles.

One unfortunate punter also mislaid a driver’s licence – it was a long walk home, apparently.

Stats incredible … 




The NZ Golf Open used:

  • 62 portaloos
  • 8760 bottles of water
  • 500 bottles of sports drink consumed by players
  • 12 boxes of bananas eaten by players on the first and 10th tees combined
  • 450 volunteers worked 16,060 hours
  • 2824 tees used
  • Four tonnes of glass waste removed