Hillier retains Wellington U19 title
A gleaming golf trophy carrying the names Jason Day and Adam Scott will grace the Hillier family home in Porirua for another year.
And by the end of Daniel Hillier’s dream 2016, the gun New Zealand amateur will have played against both those Australian stars and maybe even picked their brains in a practice round at Royal Sydney in November.
The 18-year-old Aotea College student achieved what is thought to be a first when he defended his New Zealand under-19 men’s title with a blistering final round of five-under 66 at Nelson Golf Club on Friday, a year after winning it for the first time at Shandon.
It meant Hillier extended his impressive feat as holder of both the under-19 and national men’s amateur titles as he prepares to defend the latter on familiar turf at Heretaunga in October. He was also the top amateur at the New Zealand Open in March.
Hillier handed it back to Wel- lington Golf’s Carmen Blackler to carry across on the ferry before the trophy resumes residence at his house.
‘‘It’s a privilege to be up there with those guys. A big confidence booster,’’ Hillier said. ‘‘I managed to keep it at my place for the majority of the year, and it’ll be nice to have it back home so the family can see it.’’
It gets better, with the Australian Open starting on November 17, the big date on an already packed Hillier golfing calendar. He booked direct entry to the tournament with a six-stroke victory in the Australian boys’ amateur in Tasmania in April.
‘‘They’ve just announced that Jason Day, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth will all be there so it’ll be nice to hopefully meet a couple of them and if I’m extremely lucky maybe I’ll get a practice round with one of them,’’ he said.
Before then Hillier will take up an invitation at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, an Asia Tour event in Japan starting on September 22, before heading to Korea with five New Zealand team-mates for the Asia-Pacific amateur.
Then it’s back home to try and defend his New Zealand amateur crown at Royal Wellington from October 26-30. Not that he’s a big fan of the ‘d’ word.
‘‘It’s definitely going to be a fun week. It’s a good opportunity for me being at my home course. I don’t really like the [expression] ‘defend the title’, it’s kind of a negative. I’m going out there to win it.’’
A brilliant final round 66 saw Daniel Hillier defend his New Zealand under-19 title in Nelson.