OMAHA BEACH, New Zealand (Feb. 15, 2014) -- Auckland golfer Michael Barltrop saved his best for the last hole to claim the New Zealand Seniors Championship in perfect conditions today at the Omaha Beach Golf Club.
The Royal Auckland member, who began the third and final round two shots back from leader Australian golfer Samuel Christie, birdied the 18th to achieve a memorable come-from-behind win over the Australian.
Barltrop carded three rounds of 71 to finish on an even-par total of 213 to follow in his older brother Rodney’s footsteps (who has won the title five times) to win his first NZ Seniors title.
Barltrop, who is one the three national Selectors for the men’s teams of NZ Golf, got off to a slow start at the popular Northland layout when he mixed two bogeys and a birdie on the opening four holes.
Meanwhile Christie, who had opened with two rounds of 70, was unflappable early on as he made the turn in even-par 36.
Barltrop was parsimonious from there on making 12 pars in succession before he birdied the last hole to beat Christie, who dropped three shots coming home, by one.
Christie will rue making back to back bogeys on 15 and 16 that ultimately cost him the title.
Hastings golfer Stuart Duff, a former Black Caps cricketer, and defending champion Brent Paterson (Royal Auckland), both carded rounds of two-over par 73 to finish in a share of third place.
Paterson, who was impressive last year winning by nine shots, mixed an eagle and four bogeys, including two in the final four holes, to miss out of his opportunity of defending his title.
Duff also had his chances. He made five birdies today but he will rue the five bogeys and a double bogey on the par four fourth hole which put paid to his chances.
Auckland golfer Mike Leitch (Maungakiekie) also had a 73 in the final round to finish in outright fifth place.
The New Zealand Seniors Championship attracted a truly international field in 2014 with players from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, United States, Samoa and Scotland making their way to Omaha Beach.
The Australian contingent was warming up for their test match against New Zealand – the Sanctuary Cove Trophy at Muriwai Golf Club from February 18 to 19 – where they will look to reclaim the trophy.
But before all that Michael Barltrop will remember that first tournament staged at the Omaha Beach Golf Club as the time he won his first New Zealand Seniors Crown.
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