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The road to New Zealand Open began for some golfers on a rather dampish Balmacewen course at the Otago Golf Club yesterday.
Qualifying for the open was played over 18 holes yesterday. It drew 17 golfers, from mainly the south of the South Island.
The first four golfers in yesterday's round qualified to go to the final qualifying tournament which will take place at the Cromwell Golf Club on February 25. That is the Monday before the New Zealand Open starts at Millbrook and the Hills on February 28.
Other tournaments will be played around the country in the next couple of weeks to complete the field for the Cromwell event.
Blake Mason, of Wanaka, came out out on top yesterday, finishing with a 3-under-par 68. Next-best was Brandon Hodgson, of the Otago club, who tied for second with James Tauariki, from Rotorua, both recording a 1-over 72.
Four players were tied for the fourth and final spot on two over 73. Hayden Robertson, of Taieri, prevailed in a playoff ahead of Robin Smith, of Arrowtown, Ben Patston, of Otago and Kyle Clark, of Cromwell.
- World No1 Justin Rose yesterday dedicated his emotional US PGA Tour victory to caddie Mark Fulcher, who is recovering from heart surgery, AAP reports.
Rose, without his caddie of more than 11 years, held off Adam Scott to claim a two-shot win from the Australian at Torrey Pines in California.
Rose said Fulcher, who underwent a heart valve replacement two weeks ago, was in his thoughts as he captured his 10th PGA Tour title - the most by any Englishman since 1945.
Fulcher and Rose teamed up to win the 2013 US Open, the 2016 Olympic gold medal and two World Golf Championships events amid rich form which has taken Rose to the top of world golf.
"Fooch, that was for you, mate,'' Rose said.
Rose closed with a 3-under-par 69 to finish at 21-under, while Scott birdied the last four holes for a 68.
Rose's score of 267 marked the lowest winning 72-hole total at the event since Torrey Pines' South course was redesigned in 2001, eclipsing the 19-under Tiger Woods posted when he won there in 2008. - Additional reporting AAP