February 11, 2024
Trass wins first national title at home

Hawke’s Bay golfer Mike Trass has won the 2024 New Zealand Seniors Championship at his home track to claim his first national title.

Trass conquered the record 240-player field, which represented 75 golf clubs and seven countries at Hastings and Hawke’s Bay Golf Clubs over the three days of competition, winning by three strokes over Englishman Stephen Jensen at two-under-par.

The leading 160 players and ties pegged it up at Hastings Golf Club for Saturday’s final round, chasing the overnight leader Glenn Coughlan, a four-handicapper from Templeton Golf Club, who led at two-under.

Trass, who was a shot behind Coughlan following rounds of 72 and 70, played alongside the overnight leader in the final group. The 50-year-old almost immediately found himself at the top of the leaderboard after Coughlan bogeyed four of his opening five holes and found himself in a tussle for the title with fellow club member Stuart Duff, who was playing in the group ahead.

Trass made the turn one-over-par following a couple of bogeys and a birdie and went into the final nine in the box seat to win his first national championship. He birdied 12 and bogeyed 13 and needed to play stress-free golf coming home with Stephen Jensen posting the clubhouse lead at one-over.

Duff caught Trass by the time they got to the 15th. They both birdied the short par 4, parred the par 3 16th, and Trass poked his nose in front with a clinical birdie on 17 after watching Duff three-putt for par.

A par up the last was good enough for the Hastings Club Champion to add a New Zealand Seniors Championship title to his mantlepiece, an achievement he’s extremely proud of.

“The anticipation of reaching 50 and being able to participate was exceeded by the event and the friendly but super competitive spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed the three days of competition,” Trass explained.

“The course was set up pretty tough, so I knew I just had to keep as error-free as possible and luckily managed to do that. I saw Stu in the group ahead was playing really well so there was definitely some pressure in the back nine. I played nicely coming home and hit some nice close approaches on 12, 15 and 17, which I managed to convert. I’m just stoked to get the job done.”

Trass finished with a final round of one-under-71, beating Jensen after Duff was disqualified in unfortunate circumstances, signing for an incorrect scorecard.

Auckland’s David Somervaille, the 1996 New Zealand Amateur champion, finished third overall, a shot behind the Englishman.

Two of Australia’s test-match team showed solid form ahead of their Trans-Tasman clash with the Kiwis in Taupo next week, with Graham Hourn finishing in equal fourth and Asia-Pacific Seniors champion James Lavender finishing in a share of ninth.

Other winners of their age groups were Stephen Jensen, who won the 55 – 59-year-old bracket, James Lavender won the 60 – 64-year bracket, John Rademakers won the 60 – 65-year division, with former New Zealand test cricketer taking out the 70-year and older division.

The world’s most successful caddie Steve Williams won the nett competition returning scores of 80, 74, and 74 off an eight handicap.

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