BMW NZ OPEN BLOG: GEARY'S TIME TO SHINE

4/12/2011

It’s another hot day for the final round of the BMW NZ Open at the Clearwater Golf Club with the nor’ easterly breeze growing in strength as we wait for the final group to tee off at 1:45pm.

Local golf fans are filtering through the gates this morning to see whether Josh Geary can end an eight year drought of the home champion at the national event. Can he do it? The numbers are stacked against him with him the sole Kiwi in the top nine players. There is no doubt that Queensland’s Brad Kennedy, who earned a three shot lead yesterday, begins as the favourite. There will be plenty of intrigue to how the 37-year-old handles the pressure of leading from the front – all of his good performances on the Japan Golf Tour in 2011 have come from behind. But just behind Kennedy are a number of quality Aussies ready to enjoy a breakthrough win. Terry Pilkadaris, Adam Crawford, Rohan Blizard have all looked the real deal this week at Clearwater and will enjoy playing without the pressure of being talked and the spotlight of the final group. Just behind them is the 2002 champion Craig Parry who was on the practice green late last night after his round perfecting his short game which let him down in round three. Don’t expect him to be in the same bad touch for the big occasion today. So the odds are on for the Kiwi to be outmanned by the plethora of Aussie challengers. But only one man can win and don’t count against Geary delivering some magic in the final round. He is ready. He didn’t play great yesterday but scrambled like his life depended on it and shot a very passable one under 71. He made the comment that he could easily have shot somewhere in the highs 70s and many other players would have. Geary has always been a phenomenal local talent but it was his fighting quality – that he has learned on the cut-throat Nationwide Tour where every shot counts - that kept him in the tournament. When the 27-year-old professional is on his game he is one of the most exciting players in New Zealand. As his caddy and manager Brad Heaven said “Josh is one of the most talented players I have ever seen and we have played so much golf together now (having been roommates and traveling together on the Canadian Tour for the past four seasons) that I feel fortunate to have been able to watch him progress at such a rapid rate, despite the fact that it was at times demoralizing watching this kid hit shots around the greens that I simply didn’t have! He certainly has all the tools to have a long, successful career competing at the highest level against the very best in the world.” That is some wrap from a man who came within one shot of winning the title back in 2004 as an amateur. Heaven and Geary have talked at length about a day like today. “I was especially proud to produce the kind of golf I played under pressure which I had never felt before. I have talked with Josh extensively about my experiences that week and the techniques I used to prepare myself for those nauseating feelings that he may experience.” Geary is right in the mix today. If he settles early and makes up ground on Kennedy, he is a great chance to be the first kiwi engraved on the Brodie Breeze Trophy since 2003. But forget about New Zealand for a moment and think about Josh Geary. He needs to win for his own sake. To prove to himself that he has the quality to be one of our leading professionals in the world. He has the ability than many golfers would dream of and today he needs to show that when it matters most. December 4, 2011 could be a day we remember when Josh Geary came of age as a professional golfer.

 

    OOM LEADERBOARD

    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Lee, Jang Hyun 124.00
    2 Jones, Samuel 80.25
    3 Zheng, Jimmy 76.75
    4 Kobori, Kazuma 70.00
    5 Smail, Charlie 69.83
    RANK PLAYER SCORE
    1 Chung, Darae 100.13
    2 Son, Yeonsoo 86.85
    3 Kang, Sumin 69.60
    4 Kobori, Momoka 66.67
    5 Im, Amy 60.64