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Mountcastle climbs to Summit

 
GOLF 

Masterton professional Kerry Mountcastle’s rich vein of form has continued with a brace of top-two finishes propelling him to the summit of the NZPGA tour’s Order of Merit.

The highlight was a first-equal finish in the shortened Expol Pro-Am at Waihi on Saturday, which followed a runner-up finish in the Waitemata Pro-Am on Auckland’s North Shore last Thursday. 

Mountcastle shot a three under par 69 at Waitemata, a round that included four birdies and one bogey, finishing as one of six players tied for second, one shot behind Auckland professional Jake Meenhorst.

The 27-year-old then capped a successful trip north at Waihi, sharing the victory with Tyler Hodge from Levin, shooting a four-under-par 68, including four birdies, an eagle, and two bogeys over the 18 holes. The tournament had been scheduled to be played over 36 holes on Saturday and Sunday but was cut to one day because of the onset of Cyclone Gabrielle. 

The condition of both courses surprised Mountcastle, given the carnage recently caused by Cyclone Hale in Auckland and on the Coromandel Peninsula.   

“Waitemata, the week before we played there, over 80 per cent of the course was underwater, so the condition of the course considering that was amazing, and Waihi was like Masterton, it was the first time it had been green for the pro-am, so it was in really nice condition,” he said. 

Mountcastle’s Waihi victory was his third of the season and follows wins at the Boulcott’s Farm and Paraparaumu Beach Pro-Ams. He has also had another three top-three placings.  

The outstanding form has seen him climb to the top of the NZPGA Order of Merit, taking over from fellow Masterton professional Harry Bateman, who drops to third behind Meenhorst. Bateman missed the two recent events as he was in Melbourne contesting the Victoria Open, in which he failed to make the cut.  

“I’ve got off to a good start this year, and hopefully, with events coming up, I can keep the number one spot, but it’s not really what I’m worried about. I am more just go out and play and see how it ends up,” said Mountcastle, who will next tee up in the Brian Green Property Group NZ Super 6’s starting tomorrow at the Manawatu Golf Club’s Hokowhitu course. 

Mountcastle won the 2021 version in what was his last event as an amateur and is confident he can add to his growing list of victories and repeat his success.   

“I’m feeling good, and the game is starting to find some shape, and hopefully, I can keep that going,” he said.  

The unique tournament, which carries a prize purse of $60000 and is part of the Charles Tour, features three rounds of strokeplay followed by a cut-throat knockout phase involving the top 24 players.

After 54 holes, the leading eight players are given a bye into the second knockout round.

The next 16 play six-hole strokeplay matches, with the winners going through to the second round. The knockout format then continues until the last two players compete for championship glory.

 

 

 

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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