Great prizes make for a ner­vous fi­nal round at Mill­brook

The Cut - - CONTENTS -

Men­tally, Welling­ton doc­tor John Row­land was well equipped for chas­ing one of the rich­est prizes in New Zealand am­a­teur golf, the Mercedes Tro­phy.

A sin­gle-fig­ure hand­i­cap­per, he knew when the tworound stable­ford tour­na­ment at Mill­brook Re­sort got tough he’d been through tougher. He knew there would be jan­gling nerves as he chased an all-ex­penses paid trip to Ger­many, but he’d had to cope with more dif­fi­cult emo­tions than nerves.

Can­cer last year claimed the life of his daugh­ter Har­riet, just out of her teens. That taught him there were things that mat­tered more than win­ning, or los­ing.

“Af­ter that, I find I’m not too wor­ried… the pres­sure doesn’t re­ally worry me. Af­ter that, golf pres­sure is noth­ing,” he told The Cut.

Row­land headed home, by a soli­tary point, the 24 golfers who reached the 2015 na­tional fi­nal, af­ter re­gional qual­i­fiers weeded out nearly 500 play­ers.

He scored 38 stable­ford points to lead af­ter the first day, then 33 on a rain-bat­tered day two to hold off Cam­bridge blood­stock agent Stu­art Hale and Auck­land real es­tate agent David Li.

All three will rep­re­sent New Zealand at the Mercedes Tro­phy world fi­nal, at Stuttgart, Ger­many, in Oc­to­ber, fly­ing there Cathay Pa­cific busi­ness class.

Har­riet Row­land, known as Hat, was 17 when di­ag­nosed with os­teosar­coma, a rare form of can­cer that be­gan in her knee. She un­der­went “hor­ren­dous chemo” and spent 200 nights in hos­pi­tal, record­ing her thoughts in a blog called My Ex­pe­ri­ence of Walk­ing the Dog, which be­came a book.

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