The country’s leading amateur Daniel Hillier has produced “the best round of my life” at the 99th ISPS Handa New Zealand Open today to be tied eighth at the Millbrook Resort.

In front of a packed 18th green, the 19-year-old produced his shot of the day by rolling in his third birdie in a row from 25-feet to cap off a clinical seven-under par after being only one-under at the turn.

This still leaves him a whopping eight shots behind the leader Terry Pilkadaris who continued his red-hot form to card a round of nine-under par, 62 and assert his dominance in Queenstown to have a comfortable five-stroke lead.

With family and friends by his side, Hillier was excited about the opportunity to be playing late on Sunday afternoon.

“I think in the circumstance, it was the best round of my life. I started the day slowly but managed to get a few putts halfway through and kept trucking from there,” said Hillier.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in contention in the New Zealand Open. I am looking forward to what is ahead and quite excited as well. I have a great support crew here.

“I just have to go out there and enjoy it. There are a lot of people out there obviously. You can think of it two ways. You can think of it as pressure or as support. I am going out there to treat it like support and enjoy it.”

(Hillier’s back nine)

Playing two groups behind Hillier, who looks certain to claim the Bledisloe Cup for leading amateur for the second time in three years, was rookie professional Nick Voke who was going stroke for stroke with him after firing a round of six-under to finish on a championship total of 15-under par.

His blemish-free round showed why he was New Zealand’s best amateur for a number of years and if his putter heats up tomorrow, anything is possible.

“I like Millbrook, I’m yet to make a bogey here, I’ve obviously cursed myself for tomorrow now, but I do like the place and when the putts drop that’s when I go low, so if I have a hot putter tomorrow, things could happen,” said Voke.

However, the leaderboard is stacked with Australians as they look to claim back the Brodie Breeze Trophy tomorrow afternoon.

Mark Brown also made some progress today after a round of five-under, 66 to be our third placed Kiwi in tied 34th. It wasn’t to be for Harry Bateman who was our top New Zealander overnight after a round of one-over saw him bailed out of contention.

Mark Hutson and Ryan Chisnall also had a quiet day at the office with one-over and even-par rounds respectively to end their chances, but will take a lot of learning entering the fourth and final round tomorrow.




    1 Hydes, James 147.28
    2 Kobori, Kazuma 146.00
    3 Thompson, Mako 107.58
    4 Jones, Samuel 98.70
    5 Zheng, Jimmy 96.58
    1 Chung, Darae 238.04
    2 Kobori, Momoka 142.00
    3 Xu, Fiona 98.04
    4 Son, Yeonsoo 90.74
    5 Maurice, Caitlin 84.77