New Zealand Golf Magazine

THE MOUNT OPEN

The Queenstown Profession­al joins the three tour title elite group

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The Mount hosted another successful Christies Flooring Mount Open with a new winner crowned.

James Anstiss has shot a 4-under round of 68 to win the Christies Floorings Mount Open by two shots from Daniel Hillier at the final Jennian Homes Charles Tour event for 2020 at the Mt Maunganui Golf Club.

Anstiss poked his nose in front of the field on moving day when he dealt with the blustery conditions the best and was a shot clear of Hillier.

On the final day Anstiss shot six birdies and two bogeys to increase his final margin by one finishing on 19-under.

The two-time Jennian Homes Charles Tour champion has now joined an elite group of players with three wins on the tour.

The mixed-gender Charles Tour is designed to provide an opportunit­y for young, talented local amateur golfers to play alongside New Zealand Golf’s elite squad members, as well as seasoned New Zealand based profession­al golfers, who play for their share of $50,000 prize money at each of the six, soon to be seven tour events.

Hillier, who has already won two tour events this year, also had six birdies in the final round but with just one extra bogey meant he couldn’t narrow the gap by the end of the tournament finishing with 17-under.

Outright third place went to Kit Bittle who also had a great tournament finishing on 14-under after 2-under 70 final round and was the leading amateur for the event.

The Queenstown profession­al said he was elated to get the job done.

“This is an awesome feeling. It’s never easy to win a golf tournament and I had a real battle on my hands with Dan [Hillier] and Kit [Bittle],” Anstiss said.

“Dan put it on me early. I think he had the lead through the first six or seven holes and I just kept pressing. I made a couple of really good saves along with some key birdies late in the back nine and managed to get over the line.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Anstiss as Hillier flew out of the blocks on the final day with three birdies in his opening four holes to snatch the lead from Anstiss.

However, bogeys at seven and eight gifted the lead back to Anstiss who went into the final nine holes with a one-shot lead.

Anstiss then made birdies at the 10th, 12th, and 13th holes to pick up another shot over Hillier and Bittle who had stormed back into contention with a handful of birdies of his own.

However, Anstiss showed his winning pedigree with a clutch birdie at the 15th followed by an uncharacte­ristic bogey at the 16th for Hillier, and the tournament was in his grasp.

A textbook par up the last was good enough to get over the line. Anstiss said it’s a relief to get over the line after struggling earlier in the year.

“I lost a bit of form in the middle of the year and I put in a bunch of hard work in the gym and on the golf course. It’s awesome to see that hard work pay off with a win at the final Jennian Homes Charles Tour event of the year.”

HILLIER CLAIMS OVERALL TOUR VICTORY

Coming into the final Jennian Homes Charles Tour event of the year, the Christies Floorings Mount Open, Hillier knew he needed a good result to get both hands on the trophy. The only way he could be beaten was if James Hydes won the event and he finished worse than second place, or if Luke Toomey won and he finished worse than 51st position.

With his destiny in his own hands, Hillier stepped up to the plate and delivered firing rounds of 66, 66, 69, and 70 to fall just short of his third victory of the year and finish in second place by two strokes to James Anstiss at 17-under par for the tournament.

He says despite falling just short of his third victory at the season finale, his 2020 season will be one to remember.

“I’m really happy to be crowned the 2020 Jennian Homes Charles Tour Trophy champion,” Hillier said. “It’s really special as it shows that I’ve performed consistent­ly throughout the year and I’m really grateful to have some good people around me in what has been a tough year for profession­al golfers in the country.

“I’m really happy with the way I finished off at The Mount Open as well. Overall, it’s been a great year.”

He’s finished the year with victories at the Brian Green Property Group NZ Super 6’s and the DVS Pegasus Open, runner-up finishes at the Taranaki Open and the Christies Floorings Mount Open, as well as a tie for 23rd at The Carrus Open and a tie for 26th place at the Autex Muriwai Open.

He accrued 1557 points throughout the season to win the Jennian Homes Trophy for the first time.

He said he’s managed to gain some valuable confidence going into the 2021 season.

“Every time you get a win under your belt it’s a pretty good year and I was able to snag a couple. To be in the mix at a couple more as well is really cool and it’s pleasing to see all the hard work that I’ve put in this year is paying off.

“There is plenty of good things I can take into next year. Hopefully, things start to open up and we can get overseas to compete against the best players in the world.

“Obviously everything is still up in the air and I just need to keep my head down and keep working towards whenever that eventuates,” he explains.

Hillier added the support from Jennian Homes to profession­al golf in New Zealand is invaluable, especially during a time where there is so much uncertaint­y surroundin­g profession­al sport.

“Jennian Homes have been awesome for us. Personally, I started playing the Jennian Homes Charles Tour events when I was a young amateur plying my trade, and to have the opportunit­y to play with profession­als like Josh Geary and Michael Hendry were all great experience­s and we’re able to do that consistent­ly which is great.

“It’s a great environmen­t for all of us and I’ve really enjoyed it. With Covid-19 this year and all of the travel bans, without them, we wouldn’t have too much to play for so we’re very grateful for all of their support.”

 ??  ?? “I was nervous out there. The adrenaline was pumping, and I was trying to pull off some big shots and hole some putts; it’s never easy. I managed to get the ball in the hole today and to get the win feels awesome.
James Anstiss (L) & Daniel Hillier (R)
“I was nervous out there. The adrenaline was pumping, and I was trying to pull off some big shots and hole some putts; it’s never easy. I managed to get the ball in the hole today and to get the win feels awesome. James Anstiss (L) & Daniel Hillier (R)
 ??  ?? James Anstiss
James Anstiss
 ??  ?? Daniel Hillier
Daniel Hillier
 ??  ?? Munchen Keh
Munchen Keh
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Kit Bittle
Kit Bittle
 ??  ??

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