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.

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