If Gareth Paddison learns only one thing in Queenstown
this week, he would love to master the greens at The Hills.
It might be a slightly greedy request, but the Lower Hutt
left-hander hasn't been able to get the hang of them during
his past few trips to Sir Michael Hill's private course.
He will get another chance on Thursday when he tees it up in
the NZ PGA Championship where he will be part of a strong
Kiwi contingent in the field.
"I've played The Hills every time it's hosted either the New
Zealand Open or the New Zealand PGA and the course is good.
It keeps getting better and better every year. The 16th green
is still there unfortunately but other than that it's a
decent course," Paddison said.
"Four years in a row I've still been stumped on the greens so
me and my good friend who caddies for me, we've got
absolutely no idea about the greens. They're a fantastic
surface but I've got completely no idea on them."
What makes them so tricky?
"It's just the lines on them," Paddison continued. "It's a
beautiful surface, it gets less traffic than any course
throughout the year. The surface is fantastic and I'm just
dumbfounded by the greens and the lines and the lines that
they take. I've just got no idea on them."
Aside from his struggles with the putter at the Hills,
Paddison has been in handy form during the past year and
finished 10th on the Australian PGA Tour's order of merit
last year, after earning A$87,979.68 (NZ$108,344.86).
He grabbed a share of 16th in last year's New Zealand Open at
Clearwater and has started this year in the same consistent
fashion and has already logged two top-10 finishes across the
His improved accuracy off the tee has helped his cause in
recent times and he said he was still making technical
improvements in his game, although he did miss the cut at the
Victorian Open by one stroke during the weekend.
The 32-year-old won the Victorian PGA Championship in
February last year, which netted him A$18,000 (NZ$22,166) but
he knows he is overdue for a huge payday.
"One of my goals is to win a big one this year. I certainly
feel I'm in that sort of form to do it, really. So I'm
building up to it."
Paddison has toiled away on various circuits since he turned
professional in 2001, including a year on the European Tour
in 2008 and he will have a collection of starts on the
OneAsia Tour this year to complement his Australian schedule.
As he builds for a big 2013, Paddison said he would like to
have a shot at securing his Japanese Tour card at the end of
New Zealander Michael Hendry will play the Japanese Tour this
year, while David Smail has been a regular in that part of
the world for the past 15 seasons.
"David Smail's done incredibly well for himself," Paddison
said. "He's made a great career up there and it's what I'd
like to get to as well."
Paddison will be hoping the greens are a bit easier to read
in Japan if he heads there later in the year.