Manawatu golfer Joshua Munn was the talk of the ask>metro Muriwai Open as he broke the course record with an incredible nine under par 63 in fine and warm conditions today.
Munn, who had only 21 putts throughout his first ever 18 holes at Muriwai, had his best tournament round of his young career to lead the tournament by three shots from Northland pro Alex Tait.
“Everything I did today was awesome,” said the 20-year-old Munn who recently upset the World no.9 amateur Ben Campbell in the second round of the Lion Foundation New Zealand Amateur.
“Every putt I looked at, I holed – it was like I couldn’t miss. When I got to seven under par I thought ‘what do I do now?’”
Meantime in the women’s field, World No.1 Amateur Lydia Ko was disappointed by her two over par 74 as she trailed the leader Auckland professional Susan Farron by three shots. A group of
three players Kristin Farrell, Caroline Bon and Natalie Storck share second place on one over.
But Munn was the talking point. He was composed to the last making a fine birdie on his final hole the 9th to set the clubhouse lead and record at nine under. Robert Noffke (Titirangi) previously held the course record with a 66, which was matched in the final round of the Muriwai Open last year by Richard Lee, but Munn smashed it by three shots.
“It is my first course record and an unbelievable feeling to have my name on the Honours Board here at Muriwai.”
The tour’s namesake Sir Bob Charles, speaking from Florida, was impressed by the Munn’s course record breaking feats.
“That is a fantastic performance and I would love to have been there to see it,” said Charles.
“It is an honour to have my name associated with this tour and it is good to see the young golfers coming through and scoring well in tournament conditions.”
The benign conditions couldn’t have been more contrasting to the day before with the glassy Tasman Sea a beautiful backdrop to the golf in the sunshine. It was less than a day after the pro-am – which was won by Munn’s group – was called off due to heavy rain.
Munn, who began on the 10th tee, made birdies on 10, 11, 12, 14, 1, 2, 5, 7 and 9 in a phenomenal run.
The Manawatu Golf Club member, who plays off an index of +1.4, broke his previous best tournament score – a 64 at the Tauranga Golf Club which was also alongside playing partner Hamish Robertson.
“Maybe it is something to do with Hamish – I always play well with him. I holed a few 15 foot putts for par that was the difference. It kept the momentum going and meant I had no bogeys. It was a lot of fun.”
Munn, who narrowly missed selection in the Srixon Academy, was keen to prove a point today.
“I was talking to my coach [Andre White – also coach of Tim Wilkinson] and he said ‘just go out there and beat all of the guys who are in the squad, prove that you are a better player’ so I did.”
Earlier in the day Northland pro Alex Tait set the tone with a six under par 66. The former Blacks Caps bowler and hunting enthusiast has recently sold his much-loved rifle to fund his golfing travels for the upcoming Pacific Islands tour.
“I feel like I have been playing well but I haven’t been making any putts so it was nice to turn that around today,” said the 38-year-old Tait who had 10 putts on the front nine.
“I am looking forward to more competition golf and putting some good numbers on the board. It was hard to sell my rifle because I love my hunting but I need to get to the Islands so when the Charles Tour begins again in September I am ready to go.”
His good mate Dominic Barson was also back to his best with a five under par 67 in the morning round and Simon Brownlee (Muriwai) matched that number in the afternoon.
Some familiar rivals remain in contention at the ask>metro Muriwai Open. The runner up from last year Lee was in the mix after a four under par 68. It could have been so much better for Lee who made a double bogey on the final hole to put a sour taste in his mouth.
“I’m not happy with the way I finished,” said Lee who will return to the Japan Golf Tour next week.
“I drove it scratchy all day and that caught up with me on the last. I had a six-footer for birdie on the 16th so I was looking at going to seven under so to finish at four under is pretty disappointing.”
Grant Moorhead, Craig Palmer, David Klein and Peter Spearman-Burn, who has based in Melbourne and made his debut on the Charles Tour as a professional, also all carded four under par 68s.
“It was pretty average in those conditions,” said the 21-year-old Spearman-Burn.
“It was definitely there to score well and all of the birdies I had were tap-ins, my putting was average.”
As for Munn he will try and keep his feet on the ground and go low again.
“I will do the same thing – give myself opportunities for birdie and hopefully I can putt like I did today.”
Note: Auckland pro Hogan Cho’s tournament only lasted one hole after he was disqualified heading down the first when he used a laser to measure his distance to the hole. Rules officials explained to all of the golfers that any measuring devices are a breach of the rules.
Photo Caption: Manawatu golfer Josh Munn shot a nine under par 63 to break the course record at the Muriwai Golf Club by three shots. AND
Josh Munn’s Course Record Scorecard.
Photo Credit: Photosport www.photosport.co.nz
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