Former Olympian shines at Christchurch charity golf tournament

Former Olympic rower Eric Murray came within a whisker of scoring a hole-in-one and winning a $100k Haines Hunter boat in one of the highlights of the annual BrainTree golf tournament at the Clearwater Golf Course.

Murray, a single-figure golfer, made the shot of the day, landing about 25cm from the hole on the 11th green, the closest anyone came to the unclaimed big prize.

Eric Murray came close to a hole in one. Photo: Supplied
Eric Murray came close to a hole in one. Photo: Supplied
Tournament organiser Brendan Prendergast said the third annual tournament, which was held last week, was a magnificent success, raising at least $150,000 for BrainTree, the first wellness centre of its kind for people living in the community with multiple sclerosis, parkinson's, dementia and stroke. It topped last year’s $120,000 and the inaugural tournament’s $53,000.

"My phone and email inbox have gone mad since last Friday with people wanting to play next year," Prendergast said.

"It is already a sell-out and we have a wait list – and that’s in spite of us putting up the price."

All funds raised go to BrainTree, the $8.1 million centre which opened in Langdons Rd, Papanui, in July last year.

An open day will be held at the centre on Saturday, November 25, from 8.30am until noon.

Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz and his Christchurch Casino team won the tournament.

There were 32 teams competing, each with a national sportsman or woman, including Sir Bob Charles, Wynton Rufer, Moss Burmester and Andrea Hewitt.

Robin Judkins starting the event. Photo: Supplied
Robin Judkins starting the event. Photo: Supplied
Prendergast says in true Coast to Coast style Robin Judkins, who manned the registration desk with former Crusaders and now All Black coach Scott Robertson, started the event “with a bang, or more accurately a honk on the horn”.

“We had so many people involved in making the event a success, from the 32 stars who came from all around the country, our sponsors and donors and our team of volunteers," he said.

"All were out there supporting the BrainTree cause."

-By Diane Keenan