CHRISTCHURCH, NZ (March 27, 2016)--Jonathan Cane (-3) had controlled the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship through the first three rounds. Cane had played extremely well in difficult windy conditions in round two before playing a steady round three and he carried a three-stroke advantage into the final day at Christchurch Golf Club.
But when the dust settled it was Luke Toomey (-3) holding the trophy after a victory in a two-hole playoff with Cane (Wellington, NZ). Toomey won the playoff with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
“I guess I’m just feeling incredibly blessed, someone was looking down on me today. My thoughts were with a close friend who recently passed and he obviously made some things happen for me out there. Surprised, yes, but incredibly happy as well,” Toomey said to Golf New Zealand.
Despite struggling throughout the day Cane still held a one-stoke lead as he headed to 18. On the tee Cane pulled 3 iron as he was simply trying to find the fairway on the 317 yard closing par-4. However, his tee shot found the trees and lead to a bogey. It was Cane's fifth bogey of the day, all part of closing four-over par 76 that included just a single birdie.
Cane held a two-stroke advantage with three holes to play following his lone birdie of the day on No. 15. Bogeys on the 16 and of course the 18th led to the lead sliding away.
Toomey (Riverside, NZ) earned his way into the playoff with a final round four-under par 68. After beginning the day in seventh place Toomey got off to a quick start with birdies on four and six, then suffered a set back on nine with a bogey. At the turn he was still just even-par for the tournament and seemingly out of the mix.
That all changed on the closing nine as Toomey went birdie-bogey-birdie on 10, 11, 12 to reach red figures. He then kept the peddle to the meddle as he finished birdie-birdie to post three-under par.
"I guess it’s special because I have ever closed out a victory from so far behind," said Toomey. "So knowing I had to finish strong, and doing just that was gratifying.”
Nicholas Borren (-2) finished one stroke out of the playoff in third. Chang-Gi Lee (-1) and Jake Meenhorst (-1) tied for fourth.
-Golf New Zealand contributed to this story