Pro has 'unfinished business' at The Hills

Wellington professional Gareth Paddison  is excited about his chances this year. Photo supplied.
Wellington professional Gareth Paddison is excited about his chances this year. Photo supplied.

Wellington professional Gareth Paddison has bittersweet memories of the NZ PGA Championship in 2013 at The Hills in Queenstown.

With nine holes to play, the 33-year-old was the talking point of the tournament after he made five birdies in succession to close out the front nine.

But it all came unraveled in two holes when he made a bogey on the 12th and then a double bogey on the par 5 13th which ruled out his title hopes.

Paddison eventually finished in a share of third place alongside Josh Geary and four shots back from the playoff between Michael Hendry and Australian Scott Strange which the Kiwi won to defend his title.

Now, one year on, Paddison is thrilled to see the New Zealand Open Championship return to Queenstown and is excited about his chances in the tournament, which will be staged at The Hills and Millbrook on February 27 to March 2.

''I definitely feel like I have unfinished business at The Hills,'' Paddison said.

''I was going really well and then I made a bogey on the 12th and that sort of killed my momentum and then on the 13th I blocked my second and hit it the one place on the golf course you definitely don't want to hit it.

''It was pretty disappointing to play so nicely and then see it all come unstuck on a couple of bad swings. I hope I am in contention again and will be better from that experience.''

The mistakes on the back nine and also his poor finish to round three, where he missed birdie putts on the final three holes, are his standout memories from the week.

''I walked off the 18th after the third round with a bitter taste in my mouth because I knew I had missed some great chances. I was playing much better than my scoring reflected and I only missed out by four shots.

''People talk about the mistakes I made but I also played really nicely in that final round. There were a lot of positives to come from that week.''

Paddison, who finished sixth on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit in 2013, is a former European Tour player and is seeking to qualify for the Japan Tour or the Web.com Tour in the United States this year.