Kerry Mountcastle (R) and Juliana Hung (Stuff.co.nz photo)
PARAPARAUMU, NEW ZEALAND (March 25, 2018) - Wairarapa's Kerry Mountcastle and Canterbury's Juliana Hung claimed the biggest victories of their respective careers in contrasting styles at the New Zealand Strokeplay Championships at Paraparaumu Beach on Sunday.
Mountcastle, 22, cruised to an eight-shot win over the best men's amateurs in the country after his mind-boggling nine-under 62 on Saturday, while 16-year-old Hung won the women's title by two shots after she was tied for the lead entering the final round.
The Masterton electrician took a stranglehold on the rain-shortened 54-hole tournament with his second round of seven birdies and an eagle which matched the course record of 62. With preferred lies being played after Thursday's washout, it didn't count as an official course record but was still far too good for Mountcastle's rivals.
He began the final round with a seven-shot lead and a one-over 72 was enough to increase his margin by one at the end, with a total of 12-under 201.
"It's amazing to play a tournament like this in your home region and get the win. It's just awesome," said Mountcastle.
"I was just trying to repeat what I have done over the past two days and just keep it simple and focus on my game. It wasn't the easiest of conditions, but I managed to hold things together and get the job done."
Auckland's Kevin Koong was second on four-under, after carding a final round of 69, while only four others broke par. Tied on one-under for the 54-holes were Jordan Woodall, Tom Parker, early leader Hiroki Miya and James Hydes.
Tournament favourite and two-time New Zealand Amateur champion Daniel Hillier had a final round of 75 to finish three-over in a tie for 17th, while defending champion Mark Hutson shot 74 to finish one shot further back.
In the women's tournament, Hung (Russley) held off a late charge from Auckland's Miree Jung with an even-par final round of 74.
Hung and Carmen Lim were tied at eight-under entering the final round and Hung held her nerve, while Lim blew out with a three-over 77.
Jung, meanwhile, closed strongly with a four-under 70, the best women's round of the day, to get within two of the lead at six-under.
"It definitely feels pretty good, I'm so happy that I won after playing solid all week and it's easily the biggest win of my career," grinned Hung.
"We have some pretty good players in Canterbury, including the guys, so it's always nice to play well for the region."
Behind Lim (five-under) there were only three others to break par over 54 holes: Brittney Dryland (three-under), Marina Ito (three-under) and Caryn Khoo (one-under).
ABOUT THE New Zealand Stroke Play
72-hole stroke play national championship for pros and
amateurs, with overall, men's amateur and women's
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