In his debut for New Zealand's senior team, Levin golfer Tyler Hodge has helped the Kiwis finish the runners-up - by the smallest of margins - at the inaugural Ten Nations Cup in South Africa.
Trailing by three shots heading into the final round on Sunday, the Kiwi team delivered a spirited challenge for the title, finishing 16 under par 203, just one shot short of their Australian rivals, said New Zealand Golf spokesman Peter Thornton.
Hodge, 18, had rounds of 70, 68, 67 and a four under par 68, including a ''hallelujah putt'' at the 18th hole, good enough to see him finish second on the individual leaderboard.
Tasman's Blair Riordan knocked in seven straight birdies between the third and ninth holes on his way to a six-under 66, while Kiwi number one Vaughan McCall, of Southland, carded a three-under par 69 finishing tied fourth on the individual standings
The Australian team won with a 38-under-par total of 826, while England took third place on 31 under.
Australian team captain David Nable said the side was ''absolutely thrilled'' with the victory, but paid credit to New Zealand's efforts.
''They really brought it home strong and were able to make it a very close match in the end.''
The New Zealand team will now focus on the South African Stroke Championship at Oubaai Golf Club from tomorrow to Friday.
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