From a few beers to an all-expenses-paid trip of a
lifetime, the golf prizes won by Wanaka man Michael Bayliss
just got a whole lot better.
On Sunday night in Queenstown, Mr Bayliss (69) was crowned
winner of the 2014 MercedesTrophy and a member of Team New
Zealand, travelling to Stuttgart, Germany, later this year
for the 25th anniversary of the MercedesTrophy World Final.
''I don't win a lot. I win the beer on Fridays [at the Wanaka
Golf Club] quite a lot but that's about it,'' a still buzzing
Mr Bayliss told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.
The MercedesTrophy is an exclusive series of invitational
golf tournaments played around the world since 1989 by more
than 65,000 people.
Mr Bayliss, who has played golf since age 14, was among 24
Mercedes-Benz owners who had qualified at one of nine
tournaments nationwide to play in New Zealand's two-day final
at Millbrook Resort at the weekend.
He had earned a spot for the first time after winning a
recent Dunedin tournament in which he had finished third on
three previous occasions.
His victory was ''absolutely'' his biggest golfing highlight
and quite unexpected, particularly after a ''pretty average''
first round on Saturday, he said.
''I was so nervous. The video cameras and photographers and
the hierarchy from Mercedes-Benz, they crowded around you.''
Things came together on day two, though.
''I couldn't do anything wrong ... and the weather got a bit
cooler on the Sunday, so [it was] a bit tougher on the North
Islanders, so that helped me I'm sure.''
Together with second-placegetter Mark Jeffries, of Gulf
Harbour Country Club in the North Shore, and
third-placegetter Peter Jordan, the overnight leader of the
tournament on Saturday, Mr Bayliss will be flown to Stuttgart
in September to play in the world final, comprising teams
from 37 countries.
Team New Zealand would spend a week in Germany.