AUKLAND, New Zealand — Sixteen-year old Daniel Hiller from the Manor Park Golf Club has stormed to victory in the New Zealand Amateur Championship in fine conditions today at the Alister MacKenzie designed Titirangi Golf Club.
The final today featured the two youngest ever combined competitors in a final and seventeen year old Sam Vincent battled hard all day and started strongly with back to back birdies on the 5th and 6th hole seeing him take an early lead.
Hillier refused to drop his head though and was playing error free golf. When Vincent made an error with a bogey on the 14th, Hillier promptly birdied the next hole to take a decisive three up lead which he would hold into the lunchtime break.
After lunch Hillier was fast out of the blocks and birdied the 1st hole. Trying to play catch up was proving difficult for Vincent and errors on the 6th and 10th holes saw Hillier on the cusp of victory. While Vincent was able to prolong the match with a birdie on the 12th, Hillier holed a 10ft putt on the par five 13th to win 6&5.
Hillier who started the game at an early age was thrilled with the biggest win of his career. “ I’ve been hitting plastic golf clubs since I could walk and went out for a few holes with my Dad a couple of days before I turned five and have trucked on from there.”
“I’ve been working with Kevin Smith for four years now and we have made some really good progress for a while now and have realised that this could be a really big part of my life. I honestly didn’t think I would be standing here as the winner this week , especially only being sixteen”.
“I felt my whole game was solid this week. I holed some good shots and hit some really good iron shots but it was really more a mind-set of taking it one shot at a time and putting pressure on my opponents consistently throughout the match which really helped me get the results this week.”
A massive celebration at the Manor Park Golf Club and at the Smith household will be in order as after Hillier won the men’s championship Julianne Alvarez followed suit. Alvarez is also a member of the Manor Park Club and coached by Smith.