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Delight, frustration for Campbell

By Gary Caffell

Ben Campbell has mixed feelings about his joint second placing in the New Zealand PGA golf tournament at the Manawatu Golf Club last week.

The former Masterton player who is now based in Queenstown was both “delighted and frustrated” after being in a three-way tie at the end of four rounds with a score of 270, level with Australian Jarryd Felton and Kiwi Josh Younger, and then being beaten by Felton in a playoff for the title.

“Obviously, it’s nice to get so close but the frustrating part is it could have been better,” Campbell said yesterday when asked to assess his performance.

“You look back and you think if only . . . but then that’s how it goes sometimes, doesn’t it?”

Campbell, whose relatively short professional career has been hindered by health and injury hassles, can’t remember striking the ball better off the tees and was also more than happy with his long irons but he readily concedes his pitching and putting were not quite as consistent as he would have liked.

In his first round, for instance, he had constantly put himself into good positions to score birdies but too often left himself difficult putts because of being either too long or too short with his pitches.

“I finished that round one under but it could easily have been four or five under had the pitching been up to scratch.”

Undoubtedly the pitch which disappointed Campbell most was on the last hole of his final round.

“I struck it well enough and actually thought it was all over the flag but it came up short and I two-putted, one would have given me the title.”

In the last round, it was the putter which caused Campbell problems with some makeable putts being missed on his way to a three under 67 and again he was blaming nobody but himself.

“I think it was pretty average green reading as much as anything else.”

The playoff saw both Felton and Campbell in range of birdie putts while Younger was out of the contest and after Felton sunk his crucial putt, Campbell missed by the narrowest of margins.

“Honestly, I thought it was in when I struck it but the ball veered off just at the last moment — that was a bit gutting I can tell you.”

Next up for Campbell is the 2017 New Zealand Golf Open in Queenstown.

Starting this Thursday, it will be played on a Millbrook course with which he is very familiar.

“It’s what I would call a ball striker’s course in that it’s important to be both long and accurate off the tees and I guess it does suit my game.

“A few tweaks to the pitching and putting and who knows . . . I’m certainly hopeful of being thereabouts.”

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