Tue, Oct 24, 2023 11:01 PM

Jonti scores maiden professional win on home course


Peter Jones

It is always memorable to win your first professional tournament, but to do so on your home course was “truly special”, said Marlborough Golf Club Head Professional, Jonti Philipson.

Earlier this month Jonti, who turned professional in 2005, managed to come out on top in the Whitehaven Wines Marlborough Pro Am, posting a round of four-under 68 in the 6080m course.

He finished ahead of a strong field, which included former NZ Open champs Michael Hendry and Mahal Pearce, ultimately beating out Auckland professional Dongwoo Kang and Nelson Golf Club co-head professional Sean Riordan by one stroke. Jonti's round included five birdies and a lone bogey on the long 190m par 3 16th.

The top of the leaderboard was rounded out by fourth-placed Tyler Hodge, who shot 70, while Hendry, the 2017 New Zealand Open winner, carded a one-over 73 to come ninth as he continues his return to competitive golf since his cancer diagnosis.

The 18-hole event was contested in calm conditions, however birdies were scarce, with only five pros able to break par at the Fairhall course.

Jonti, whose previous best professional tournament result was a play-off defeat, said it was truly special to win his home event and to be able to celebrate with the members of Marlborough.

Fellow Marlborough professional Chas Craig shot a 75 to finish 14th, one shot ahead of Pearce.

The action resumed at the Kaikoura course a week later, with Aussie Gordon James taking out the 36-hole event with a score of 129. Chas finished 11thon 141, with Jonti 23rd on 147.

Next up was the 18-hole Clearwater pro-am, with Dongwoo Kang and Josh Geary sharing top spot with 68. Chas finished 10th with a 74.

That was fo9llowed by the prestigious Clearwater Open, part of the Charles Tour, with Chas finishing in a tie for 16th after rounds of 69 and 78, while youngster Aroha Minhinnick made the cut to register rounds of 76 and 79 for a share of 47th position from over 100 particpants.

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