The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2016
72 THE CUT through and allowed me to survive against players I felt had a lot more natural talent.” One fabulous prize none of the 24 players managed to secure was the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé that was up for grabs across both tournament days by any player who holed in one at the par-3 seventh hole. Technically, Mercedes-Benz could have given away 48 coupés because the prize was at stake every time one of the competitors teed up, but the closest was Vas Lala of Royal Auckland, whose ball came to rest less than a metre from the pin. Each group of four had the chance to win sleeves of golf balls at the seventh hole by finishing closer to the hole than Tataurangi. That wasn’t easily achieved because Phil Tataurangi – who switched to the professional ranks in 1993 and went on to win the Australian PGA title as well the 2002 Invensys Classic on the USPGA Tour – landed all six of his tee shots on the green; a couple of them within a metre of the pin. For Tataurangi, he felt the greatest single prize on offer was the trip to the British Open at Royal Troon, which went to Leyth Martin. Martin, who worked as an executive manager at Hawke’s Bay Prison at Gate Pa, took early retirement last year, which has allowed her to concentrate more on her golf. She has played golf – “about once a week” – for 30 years after first caddying for her husband Les. “While I enjoyed the caddying, after a while I decided to give the game a go myself, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. “ She plays off a 15 handicap and is “absolutely chuffed” to win the trip to Royal Troon. “It just goes to show – there is life after 40!” she declared. Stewart Browne, one of the three players who will represent Team New Zealand in Stuttgart, is a big personality. In his heyday, Browne, from Tauranga, represented King Country at rugby (the team’s superstar at the time was Colin ‘Pinetree’ Meads), where he played at fullback. Browne, who operated a large electrical business in the Bay of Plenty until he sold out in March this year, first dabbled in golf about 40 years ago, but put it on hold while he played out his rugby career. He considers the highlight of his sporting career was when the Taumarunui Athletic Club (under-21) colts team found they had no opponents to play against. “We would have had to travel to another centre to play, so instead we decided to compete in the senior competition. “Our average age was 18 and we roped in two mature players to complete the squad, and we went on to the win the competition. Pinetree was so impressed he wrote an article about our achievement for the New Zealand Herald.” One of Browne’s other passions is racehorses. He has owned almost 100, many in partnership with Cambridge trainer Alan and Lynda Jones and his biggest thrill came when they won the Perth Cup. Browne’s golf handicap was down to five at one stage but when he competed at Millbrook it had gone out to 26. He’s a man who has contributed massively to golf. He runs the Businessmen’s Club every Thursday at Tauranga GC. “We host 60 to 80 players every week,” he says. “Personalities like Peter Williams and Chris McAlpine participate and everyone has a great time.” TOP LEFT: Ben Giffin and Phil Tataurangi. BOTTOM LEFT: Team New Zealand: Peter Northcott, Stewart Browne, Jaden Hatwell. BELOW: Leyth Martin won a trip to the British Open.
The Cut - Spring 2016