The National, Monday 6th May 2013
By HENRY MORABANG
ZIMBABWE-born New Zealander Pieter Zwart came from a shot behind overnight leader and Morobe Open champion Lincoln Tighe to claim the 2013 South Pacific Export Papua New Guinea Open yesterday at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club.
Zwart’s final round of six under was good enough for a 15-under par total and a two-shot victory over Tighe.
Peter Martin showed that a lay off from competitive golf can do wonders for one’s game by finishing outright third on 11 under.
Matthew Perry and Heath Reed, pictured, finished a further shot behind on 10 under.
The week though belonged to the Waipukurau resident in Auckland, who made an impressive birdie chip on the 17th hole in the final round.
That turned out to be the crucial shot on the way to victory.
“It was one of those shots that you dream about when you practice, but to pull it off when a championship is on the line is unbelievable,” Zwart said.
“It is a pleasure to now be known as the national champion of PNG Open and hopefully golf has been the big winner out of this year’s championship.
“This victory has no doubt set me up for the year and I look forward to defending the title in 12 months,” the delighted Zwart said.
Although Tighe came up short in the final round, the memories and confidence that he will walk away with from the past two weeks in PNG are sure to be ones he never forgets.
“It’s been an incredible two weeks for me with victory last week and second this week. The two events have certainly shown me that I can play my best golf on the biggest of stage and I’m now really looking forward to the reminder of my year,” Tighe said.
He thanked his caddie, Opex Yore, saying he had contributed to his play.
Zwart thanked major sponsor, SP Brewery and the support sponsors for supporting the tournament.
Tournament director Darren Stocks was happy with the hype surrounding this year’s PNG Open and is looking forward to continuing the success next year.
With his win, Zwart will be exempt into almost every Pro-Am played across Australia for the next 12 months.
Many of the professionals head back to Australia in preparation for next weekend’s Middlemount Open, while some will head to Korea for the Maekyung Open.
Defending women’s champion Sophia Cragnolini defended her title by 18 shots ahead of Kristine Seko and Rosaline Taufa with a gross 323.
Seko and Taufa were equal second with 341, while Teini Serah Robinson on gross 343 and Margaret Lavaki on 348 were next.
In the men’s amateur, the Erima block kid of Eastern Highlands and Morobe parentage Soti Dingi won the title with 290 gross.
Morobe Open winner, Brian Taikiri finished second two shots behind on 292.