The inaugural New Zealand PGA PowerPlay Golf professional event at The
Kinloch Club, near Taupo proved to be a great success with former cricketer,
Alex Tait claiming victory. Currently standing 12th on the NZ PGA 2011 Order
of Merit, Tait scored an impressive 33 stableford points in the 9-hole
risk-and-reward format where players can earn double stableford points for
birdies or better on their nominated PowerPlay holes.
The irony that Tait, the former New Zealand representative cricketer; having
played 5 ODI's in the late 1990's before becoming an NZ PGA Tour
Professional in 2005, would go on to triumph in a golf format that has been
described as golf's answer to Twenty20 cricket was not lost on NZ PGA CEO
Duncan Simpson during the post event presentations.
Playing the back nine holes at The Kinloch Club strategy was certainly
paramount for Tait, as he chose the first two par 5's as PowerPlay options
and promptly made birdies on both for double points. His last choice of the
three compulsory PowerPlay's in his first eight holes of play came at his
4th hole (the 13th).
He was one of only two players to choose this tricky hole as a PowerPlay
option and it proved to be a great decision following the resulting birdie;
"I took a punt on making birdie down the 4th because the tee shot suits my
Explaining his strategy, including the optional PowerPlay on the par 5 final
hole that hadn't gone entirely to plan Tait went on to say, "I actually had
to 'up and down' all my birdies on the par 5's which wasn't quite the way I
had planned them."
Despite his impressive 7 point win over runner-up, Joshua Carmicheal who
scored a credible 26 points, things could have been very different.
Carmicheal managed 23 points through his first seven holes before choosing
to use his last compulsory PowerPlay on his 8th hole (the 17th) . He was the
only player to challenge the black flag on this incredibly difficult Par 3;
his ensuing bogey was only rewarded with 1 point. Taking the option
PowerPlay on the last hole he could only manage a par for 2 points. A
PowerPlay birdie, birdie finish however, would have seen his score rise to
an amazing 35 points. Clarke Osbourne, Andrew Henare and Jared Pender tied
for 3rd place on 25 points.
Tom Long, Director of Golf at the Kinloch Club finished with 22 points,
missing a close range PowerPlay birdie putt on the last hole, which could
have seen him tie with Carmicheal in second place commented; "Having played
it for the first time I am keen to give it another crack. I believe the
professionals will be won over by the format after playing it a few times
and amateurs will love the PowerPlay format from the get-go."
In addition to the prize money on offer for the professionals, PowerPlay
Golf are providing an incentive for PowerPlay Golf venues in New Zealand as
a means of strengthening the amateur involvement in the PowerPlay Golf
format by donating $5000 to the official venue chosen by Alex Tait. Tait's
choice of the Northland Golf Club reflects the support he received during
his transition from cricketer to golfer from the club's resident
professional Quenton Diment.
"Anything I can do to help Quenton and the Northland club is a bonus!" said
PowerPlay Golf's New Zealand representative, Andrew Bell, was impressed by
the performance of Tait, "I predicted to Tom Long that the winner would
score between 26 and 32 points before we commenced play. The format has been
trialled extensively in both professional and amateur codes with consistent
results. The fact that Alex exceeded expectations on such a challenging
course showed his combination of strategy and shot making abilities was
The second event in the NZ PGA PowerPlay Golf series will take place at
Pegasus Golf Club on October 13th 2011, where Tait hopes to secure the
Inaugural New Zealand PGA PowerPlay Golf title with a positive second round