The 2018 NZ Stroke Play cham­pi­onships may have been head­lined by de­fend­ing cham­pion Mark Hut­son and the top am­a­teur at this year's NZ Open, Daniel Hil­lier, but it was Welling­ton's Kerry Mount­cas­tle and Can­ter­bury's Ju­liana Hung who claimed the ti­tles.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - NEWS -

The rain may have had an im­pact on the cham­pi­onship re­duc­ing it from 72 to 54 holes but it didn't pre­vent some of the coun­try's top emerg­ing tal­ent from play­ing some great golf.

Two South­ern­ers, Hiroki Miya (Rus­s­ley) and Fraser Ma­cLach­lan (Mill­brook Re­sort & Coun­try club) led the men's field on five-un­der (66) at the end of the open­ing rounds. Ju­liana Hung (Rus­s­ley) showed ev­ery­one how good her short game is to lead the women's field with a six un­der 68 (Par 74) head­ing into the second day.

Day 2 of the three round tour­na­ment saw an out­stand­ing per­for­mance from Kerry Mount­cas­tle (Master­ton) to equal the course record of 9 un­der (62). Start­ing on the 10th hole Mount­cas­tle had 1 ea­gle and 7 birdies to put him well ahead of the rest of the field.

“I got off to a de­cent start af­ter mak­ing birdies on 11, 12 then 13 and man­aged to hole a cou­ple of putts which was nice,” said Mount­cas­tle.

In the women's field Hung was joined by Auck­land's Car­men Lim at eight un­der par to set up an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge be­tween the two for the fi­nal day.

Start­ing the fi­nal day with a seven-stroke lead Mount­cas­tle con­tin­ued to play con­sis­tent golf and fin­ish with an eight shot lead from a fi­nal round of one over (72). His 201 to­tal for the three rounds saw him re­ceive the St An­drews Salver, the first time it has re­turned to the Welling­ton re­gion since James Betts won 10 years ago.

“It's amaz­ing to play a tour­na­ment like this in your home re­gion and get the win. It's just awe­some,” said Mount­cas­tle.

In the women's event Hung's even par fi­nal round saw her hold on for a wire-to-wire win and her maiden women's NZ Stroke Play ti­tle. With only three holes to play she held a seven-shot lead but with scores she will want to for­get on the fi­nal two holes saw that lead taken back to two shots by Miree Jung (Ti­ti­rangi) who birdied the last two holes for a fi­nal round of four-un­der 74.

“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.

Ju­liana Hung.

Hiroki Miya.

Fraser Ma­cLach­lan.

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