Final Qualifiers at Cromwell for 2017 NZ Open

Matthew McLean (Harewood) and Fiji professional Sam Lee booked themselves places in the field for the New Zealand Open by shooting 5-under-par rounds of 67 in qualifying at Cromwell

Matt McLean

Kevin Koong (Muriwai) and Karl Knedler (Tauranga) both finished 4-under on 68 but went into a playoff as there were only three places guaranteed from the Cromwell event.

Koong made a par four while Knedler made a bogey which gave the Auckland amateur the final place.

Knedler becomes the second reserve should there be withdrawals as the first reserve place goes to the fourth-placed player in the Paraparaumu event which had a larger field.

Australian professional Jack Williams and James Hydes both finished on 69 which also required a playoff to decide the next two reserves.

Williams’ approach to the green finished within a metre of the cup and he dropped the straight birdie putt to win the hole.

Williams becomes the fourth reserve while Hydes will be hoping for six no-shows at Millbrook to get a start.

But the day belonged to McLean, who started at the first hole, and Lee, who began on the easier back nine.

McLean is a former Timaru golfer but represented Canterbury in the interprovincial tournament in New Plymouth last December.

He is making his mark recently with a third in the Otago strokeplay championship and a fourth place in the Southland event a week later.

He turned 1- under yesterday after birdieing the first and sixth holes but he made a bogey four on the par-3 third. He came home strongly on the easier back nine with birdies at 11, 12, 16 and 18.

Lee has honed his skills on the difficult wind-swept Natadola course in Fiji and found the Cromwell course a much better prospect.

He also made four birdies on the back nine turning 3-under due to a bogey on the par-3 14th.

He played the front nine 2-under, starting and then finishing with birdies to ensure qualifying.

Scores published here: Otago Regional Qualifying Scores

Filed under: Featured, Mens
7 Mar 2017