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Linton and Bateman speed onto the podium

Two Wairarapa golfers were on the pace, making the podium at the New Zealand Speedgolf Open played at the Fitzroy Golf Club over the weekend.

Former Wairarapa and Wellington representative golfer Amy Linton finished second in the women’s championship, and Masterton-based NZPGA professional Harry Bateman was third in a hotly contested men’s championship.

The rapid brand of golf combines golf and running, and a competitor’s score is simply calculated by adding the number of strokes and the time. The NZ Open was played over two rounds on Saturday and Sunday on the picturesque New Plymouth coastal course.

Linton was looking strong after the first round, played in atrocious weather conditions, resulting in flooding on parts of the course. She led defending champion and warm favourite Liz McKinnon from Auckland by 0.19 points after shooting 83 and finishing the near 5km run in 45 seconds and 18 seconds.

However, McKinnon’s champion qualities and experience came to the fore on the second day, with a score of 76 and a run time of 46:09 for a total of 250.46, almost 10 points clear of Linton, who fired an 82 and completed the run in 49:55 for a two-round total of 260.13. McKinnon is unbeaten in Speedgolf in New Zealand.

The top-two finish was an outstanding result for the 39-year-old Linton, who quickly became hooked on the rapid version of the sport, which she took up as a way to combine golf and maintain her fitness because of work and family commitments. She was also the brainchild behind the inaugural Craigs Investment Partners Carterton Speedgolf Open held in February.

For Bateman, whose first competitive speed golf experience was in the Carterton Open, he was always going to be up against it in the men’s field, headed by world number one and defending champion Jamie Reid and former Wairarapa and Wellington representative and teams world champion Robin Smith [Linton’s brother] who were playing on their home course.

Bateman was fourth overnight with a score of 109.20 [35:20 and 74] but improved with 72 off the stick and took 48 seconds off his run time for a combined two-round score of 215.52 to leapfrog Smith and claim third place.

No one could touch Reid, who underlined his class on Saturday, producing the first sub-100 score with a stunning opening round of 68 off the stick and a run time of 31:03. His 36-hole score of 199.38 was almost nine points clear of runner-up Bernie Smith.

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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