Hil­lier shows he’s a golfer to watch

Kapi-Mana News - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - KRIS DANDO

Porirua can lay claim to some ac­com­plished sports­men, sportswomen and teams, but 2015 was about Daniel Hil­lier.

The 17-year-old golfer, who has just com­pleted year 12 at Aotea Col­lege, has been talked about as a player to watch for some time, but this year his CV grew mas­sively.

He said that win­ning the New Zealand ama­teur ti­tle in April kicked off his stel­lar sea­son. Hil­lier, 16 at the time, bettered Danny Lee’s record by five days as the youngest win­ner in the 122-year-old event.

In the fi­nal he played an­other teen, 17-year-old Sam Vin­cent, and won con­vinc­ingly, 6 and 5.

In Septem­ber he won the New Zealand un­der-19 ti­tle at Shan­don in a play­off, and the next month at hare­wood Golf Club in Christchurch he be­came the youngest win­ner of a pro­fes­sional Charles Tour event.

Charles was on the course to watch a dra­matic fi­nal round and said he was im­pressed with Hil­lier’s calm play as he bat­tled back from a dou­ble bo­gey on the 13th hole to card a bril­liant 68.

Hil­lier also played for Welling­ton in this month’s in­ter­provin­cial tour­na­ment, per­form­ing with dis­tinc­tion though his team missed out on a semi-fi­nal spot, and he won the se­nior men’s cham­pi­onship at his home course, Manor Park Golf Club.

To top off a year of hon­ours and ac­co­lades, he took out the sportsper­son of the year gong at the Col­lege Sport Welling­ton awards, and young sports­man of the year at the Porirua Sports Awards. His coach, Kevin Smith, was named coach of the year at the same event.

Next year could be an­other busy year for Hil­lier. He will com­pete at the New Zealand Open in March and get the chance to de­fend his New Zealand ama­teur ti­tle al­most on home turf – Royal Welling­ton in Up­per Hutt will host the tour­na­ment in Oc­to­ber.

He has in­di­cated that his first year out of school, 2017, will be spent play­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally as an ama­teur, be­fore making a de­ci­sion about whether to turn pro­fes­sional.

Hil­lier has al­ready been put for­ward as a school leader, and he ex­udes cool con­trol on the course. His fu­ture is in­deed bright.

PHOTO: SI­MON WATTS

Daniel Hil­lier, right, with the tro­phy for win­ning the Hare­wood Golf Open in Oc­to­ber.

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