Jake Higginbottom of Australia kisses the trophy after winning the New Zealand Open Championship at Clearwater Golf Course in Christchurch. Photo by Getty
Australian golfer Jake Higginbottom has broken a 56-year
drought to become the first amateur to win the New Zealand
Open since Harry Berwick triumphed in 1956.
The 19-year-old Higginbottom fired a five-under 67 at
Clearwater today to finish at seven-under as he banked a
one-shot win over compatriots Peter Wilson and Jason Norris
who shared second place.
Kiwi Mark Brown, who held a three-shot lead heading into the
final round, faded down the back nine as he shot a one-over
73 to finish fourth.
The next best New Zealander in the field was Richard Lee, who
quietly crept up the standings with a three-under 69 today,
to finish fifth at three-under.
Mahal Pearce and Michael Hendry were the best-placed Kiwis
after Lee as they finished in a share of 10th at even par.
Conditions were ideal for the most of the day as the wind
never got up as some forecasts suggested it would.
Only nine golfers finished under the card for the tournament
that had a purse of AUS$400,000 (NZD $508,038) with a
winner's cheque of NZD $91,447 that Higginbottom isn't
eligible to collect due to his amateur status.
Norris and Wilson will split the prize money for first and