MERCEDES TROPHY FINAL
Great prizes make for a nervous final round at Millbrook
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.