Hendry defends NZPGA Championship

Source: Article - Olivia McMillan PGA Australia, Photo - Michael Thomas/PhotoSport NZ

New Zealander Michael Hendry has gone back-to-back at the NZPGA Championship winning the title in a playoff over Australian Scott Strange.

The crowd erupted at The Hills golf course as Hendry birdied the first playoff hole to seal the victory with a tournament total 19-under 269.

“I’ve actually won every playoff I’ve ever been in, which is obviously a good record - not that I thought about that prior to going out,” said Hendry

“I felt pretty comfortable on the tee - I just said you’ve done the hard work now just finish it off.”

“To get across the line and for it to be at home and with the retention of the trophy, it’s just magic.”

Opening his round with three consecutive birdies Hendry spent the day tussling with Strange and compatriot Gareth Paddison for the lead.

“I was aware of what was happening all day but there was a few times when I was a bit surprised.”

“Coming through nine I thought I was probably a couple up and then I was walking up on the 10th tee and saw that Gareth had come from nowhere.”

“Obviously I was watching it the whole way coming in through the last four of five as well knowing how tight it was.”

He becomes the first person since Frank Nobilo to successful defend the title. Nobilo achieved the feat in 1985 and 1987 after the tournament wasn’t played in 1986.

“You come into the week thinking this is my trophy, I’m not going to give it to anyone else. I had that attitude all week so to retain it is unbelievable.”

“If people are going to put my name with the likes of Frank Nobilo and Sir Bob Charles, it’s fantastic.”

“One of my goals is to be regarded as one of New Zealand’s best when I hang up my boots and hopefully I’m on the way to doing it.”

He will now head to the WGC Cadillac Championship in winning form and is ready to test his skill against the world’s best.

“Hopefully I can continue my good form and have a good week and finish right up there,” added Hendry.

“There's no reason why I can't go over there and compete. It's just a matter of maintaining the equilibrium and not trying to get carried away with who I'm playing with and the other people around.”

Strange fired a 6-under 66 to charge up the leaderboard and work his way into the playoff against Hendry.

“The week has been good - I came in on an invite so I wasn’t even in the tournament two weeks ago, I have been playing nice and something clicked this week. I started holing a few putts and all of a sudden I was in contention,” said Strange.

“It’s like anything, you don’t like losing. Hats off to Mike, he did the right thing on the last, he put it on the green and he gave himself a chance.”

Finishing in a tie for third at 15-under 273 were Kiwi pair Gareth Paddison and Josh Geary.

Rounding out the top-5 on 14-under 274 were Rohan Blizard (NSW), Li Haotong (CHN) and Michael Tran (VIE)

In the pro-am component of the NZPGA Championship Perth based New Zealand Professional Michael Long and his amateur partner Chris Hunter took out the title on 18-under the card. Long earns a bonus NZ$10,000 for his efforts.

The PGA Tour of Australasia will now be on hiatus until the Isuzu Queensland Open which will be played at Brookwater Golf and Country Club from 22 – 25 August.