HASTINGS, New Zealand (March 25, 2017) -- North Harbour’s Mark Hutson (Muriwai Golf Club) remains in control at the New Zealand Stroke Play Championships after shooting a five under par 67 at the Hastings Golf Club today.
Starting the day with a two shot lead the 20 year old showed that he has been a class above the rest this week, registering the round of the day and stretching his lead to five.
Hutson was out of the blocks quickly registering birdies on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th holes before a bogey on the 11th bought him back to the field slightly.
Any chance that his nearest chasers had after that was quickly extinguished as he birdied the 14th and 16th before holing a huge 15 metre birdie putt on the 18th green as his nearest rivals looked on from the adjacent practice putting green.
“Today was all about sticking to the game plan I have had all week, hit greens and give myself opportunities with the putter. I missed a few shortish ones today but I managed to hit enough greens and holed a good one on the last to make the day a bit better,” said Hutson.
“Any lead I’m happy with but I’ve still got 18 holes tomorrow so I’ll still have to play a pretty solid round and see what happens.”
“My game is good, I have a trip coming up to the UK to play some of the tournaments over there so its good to have some good results back home so I feel like I can go over there and compete so this is exactly what I was looking for heading towards that trip.”
There are some cool events coming up this year I would love to be a part of and a good day tomorrow would really help me in that aspect. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully I can hold off the rest of them.”
The best of the rest are led by Harry Hillier (Te Puke Golf Club) who also birdied the 18th hole to remain within a sniff of victory.
Hillier had five birdies and two bogeys in a three under par round today and knows that tomorrow he will have to take advantage of every opportunity if he is to mount a challenge.
“I just have to take advantage of the par fives and heat that putter up and make some birdies. I birdied one [of the par five’s] today so have to take advantage of those,” he said.
Whilst the rest of the field will be hoping that Hutson comes back to them slightly, Hillier remained confident and still believed that he was a winning chance.
“I’ll be going for at least five to ten under so I don’t need Mark to stumble, I just need to play well.”
Outside of Hillier the only realistic winning chances look to be the three players on eight under par and while Daniel Hillier (Manor Park Golf Club), Henry Spring (Whakatane Golf Club) and Kerry Mountcastle (Masterton Golf Club) are all high quality amateur golfers they will need something special to run down Hutson who all week has looked unflappable.
The New Zealand Men’s Stroke Play tees off tomorrow from 11am after the New Zealand Women’s Stroke Play which starts at 7:45am.