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Mountcastle eyes hometown win

Kerry Mountcastle believes this week’s pro-am golf tournaments in Wairarapa are an ideal gauge of where his game is at.

Mountcastle turned professional in 2021 after a successful amateur career playing out of the Masterton Golf Club, going on to represent New Zealand in the 2018 Eisenhower Trophy, amateur golf’s most prized men’s team trophy.

Along with former clubmate Harry Bateman, Mountcastle has returned for today’s Holmes Construction and CER Electrical Martinborough Pro-Am and the weekend’s Recreational Services Masterton-Eketahuna Pro-Am, and he reckons the series of pro-am tournaments early in the year is important for young professionals.

“For me trying to move on to bigger and better things, doing this means I can afford to go to Britain, or somewhere like that, and it’s a way to test your game and see where you’re at and obviously try and make a little bit of money while you’re doing it,” Mountcastle said.

“For we pros just starting out, it’s a way for us to play tournament golf and start learning about the travelling and managing yourself.”

Although vital for professionals, the tournaments are also a good initiative and a great way for the average amateur golfer to meet and play with some of the best golfers in New Zealand and see how they go about things, he added.

Forty-one professionals will line up with teams of three at Martinborough today, and 36 professionals will be randomly drawn tomorrow night with teams to play at Eketahuna on Saturday and Masterton on Sunday.

Mountcastle was runner-up to Luke Toomey in last year’s Masterton-Eketahuna pro-am, finishing 13 under par, including a seven under 64 on Sunday at Masterton.

However, he anticipates different playing conditions this weekend, especially on Masterton’s Lansdowne course, which is unusually green for the middle of summer after higher-than-average rainfall over recent weeks.

“In my opinion, it plays definitely tougher when it’s green compared to brown, so the scoring could be slightly different this year than what
it’s been in the past.

“There are two ways of looking at it — one is that the rough becomes a bit thicker and harder to control, but it also means you don’t get those bounces that just bounce off all over the place.”

Bateman has made the more consistent start to the year, finishing fifth in the Whitford Park [Auckland] and Palmerston North pro-ams, while Mountcastle was ninth and 25th, respectively, in those tournaments. Both were due to play the Marton Pro-Am yesterday.

Another former Masterton club player Ben Campbell, now based in Queenstown, won’t be playing the tournaments, but he did make a successful return from injury with a fifth placing at The Hills Pro-Am in Arrowtown before Christmas.

As well as prize money for finishing positions over the weekend, there is an extra incentive for the golfers with prizes for a hole-in-one at both tournaments.

Rothbury Insurance and Fagan Motors are putting up a new car for the first player to score a hole-in-one on Masterton’s third hole.

A $20,000 cash prize for professionals or $10,000 for amateurs, sponsored by Provincial Insurance Brokers, is up for grabs for the first ace at Martinborough’s 16th hole, and the amateurs will be hoping to be on target for Fujitsu Nearest the Pin, with a $1000 cash prize.

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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