Golf prize an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany

Michael Bayliss.
Michael Bayliss.
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.