It was a big weekend for the sport of Long Drive as both a New Zealand National Champion and a New Zealand Open Champion were crowned on consecutive days.
Anthony Thomas of the United States took out the winning title of the 2018 IGANZ New Zealand Long Drive Open, while NZ national Alan Stroud won the New Zealand Long Drive Championship over the weekend. Both events were held at the beautiful Omaha Beach Golf Club.
The winning pair both obtained their “golden tickets” to the Volvik World Long Drive Championship later this year in Oklahoma.
Stroud had to battle difficult conditions over a long day of competition to emerge victorious in the North Island Championship, winning tight battles in the semi-final and finals with Iain Dick and Chase McKeown respectively.
In the first Semifinal Tyler Barton Golf of the United States was matched up against Chris Andrews of New Zealand who was competing in his first Long Drive championship. In the match American hit a drive of 316 meter drive to end Andrew’s unlikely run to winning his National Open in his initial attempt at the sport.
In the second Semifinal Anthony Thomas was matched up against long hitting Alex Robertson of the UK. In a very close match Thomas emerged victorious 339 meters to 335 meters to advance to the final, but not before Robertson unleashed a mammoth 360 meter drive that trickled out of bounds.
The final, featured the two Americans, was so tight that no one knew for sure who had won until the yardages were announced that we knew who the victor was. In the end, Thomas defeated Barton by three meters to claim a prize package that included a check for $5,000, a golden ticket to the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in Oklahoma, valuable world ranking points, a Championship Ring, and a Championship trophy designed by Darren Wise.
Thomas said of the victory, “That was a wild ride. It was a fantastic event overall for the sponsors to the grid workers, director to kitchen staff! Thanks to everyone that supported and encouraged one way or another. I love y’all to the World Long Drive Championship and back.
The events were organised by International Golf Associates of New Zealand (IGANZ) and Olna Ford, while Luxury Golf Tours sponsored the outstanding prize packages.