Strik­ing while irons hot

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By GRANT BRYANT

A chance com­ment while golf star Ly­dia Ko took a post PGA ProAmCham­pi­onship bungy jump af­ter last year’s tour­na­ment has led to Bungy NZ sales man­ager and Wakatipu premiers rugby cap­tain Re­gan Pearce cad­dy­ing for the world’s num­ber one women’s ama­teur. Ko has had a phe­nom­e­nal rise in the golf­ing world since last March but has kept her feet firmly on the ground, Pearce said. ‘‘It’s a sign that she’s kept really grounded, be­cause when we were prep­ping Ly­dia for her jump last year, I told her I was golf nut, and to hit me up if she ever needed a caddy when she was in the area,’’ he said. ‘‘So I got a random e-mail last month ask­ing if I would be avail­able to caddy for Ly­dia at the PGA Champs. I thought it could have been a wind-up from some some of the guys, so just care­fully replied that I could, still half-think­ing it was a joke but it turns out Ly­dia’s mum, who was with her when she jumped, sent the mes­sage at Ly­dia’s re­quest.’’ Since con­firm­ing the e-mail’s au­then­tic­ity, Pearce, who has been try­ing to get down to a sin­gle fig­ure hand­i­cap as a golfer, has taken a ‘‘crash­course in cad­dy­ing.’’ ‘‘There’s been plenty of Googling and YouTub­ing on cad­dy­ing, but the big thing that seems to come up is shut­ting up and do­ing what you’re told, which I think I can pull off.’’ On Ko’s ar­rival in Queen­stown, she will link up with Pearce to have a game on host course, Sir Michael Hill’s The Hills in Ar­row­town. Play­ing in the ProAm­for­mat, Ko will be grouped with New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter John Key. In­cluded in the am­me­ters, who will be paired with pro­fes­sional golfers, are Ge­orge Gre­gan and Sir Ian Botham. As a ‘‘to­tal sports nut’’ Pearce is de­lighted at the prospect of rub­bing shoul­ders with them.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

Chance meet­ing: Golf­ing whizz Ly­dia Ko meet­ing bungy whizz Re­gan Pearce last year. This year Pearce will caddy for her at the NZPGA at her re­quest. The Mir­ror has a dou­ble sea­son pass cov­er­ing all four days of the NZ PGA and NZ PGA Cham­pi­onship to give away each week lead­ing up to the event. To win this week’s pass please email us be­fore Fri­day on mir­ror@stl.co.nz, with "PGA" in the sub­ject line. Make sure to in­clude your con­tact de­tails. What: Up to 132 pro­fes­sion­als will tee at this years NZ PGA with the top 68 mak­ing the cut on the Fri­day to play through the week­end. A field of 68 am­a­teurs will play a seed­ing tour­na­ment on the Fri­day and be paired with a pro­fes­sional to play for the NZ PGA pro-am ti­tle on the week­end. Where: Sir Michael Hill’s home golf course, The Hills, near Ar­row­town

When: Fe­bru­ary 28 till March 3 How much: Sea­son passes (all four days) are $55, $20 a day for Thurs­day and Fri­day, $30 a day for Satur­day and Sun­day.

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