Drysdale for Qtown

JOHN EDENS IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 10:56 24/12/2012
Mahe Drysdale
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FIGHTING SPIRIT: Mahe Drysdale overcame numerous personal setbacks to win gold in London.

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Olympic rower Mahe Drysdale is swapping his oars for a set of golf clubs at the NZPGA Championship in Queenstown.

Drysdale, a keen golfer, plays off a handicap of 15.7 and accepted an invitation to play alongside the pros from tournament partner Milford Track Walks.

The 24-year-old had a recent taste of golf at the Hills, shooting 91 on the par 72 course in October.

He said his drive was a useful weapon on the course unless he was off kilter.

''It's tough if you're not straight. I think it rewards good golf and punishes bad golf, which in my books is a pretty perfect golf course.

''When I connect and it goes straight it can go a long way but unfortunately it can also get me in to a lot of trouble.

''I see lots of the course that I'm sure others have never seen before.''

The tournament at The Hills is fast becoming one of the hottest golfing events in the summer calendar, with confirmed players including Sir Ian Botham, Tony Grieg and Mark Richardson, teenage golfer Lydia Ko and others.

In October the Government pledged increased support for the glitzy contest, bringing the total prize money from $500,000 to $600,000.

NZPGA organising committee chairman John Hart said the latest celebrity player announcement was fantastic news.

''We are delighted we are to have such an iconic sportsman join our list of celebrity golfers. Mahe is an inspiration to young athletes around the country and he will be a huge drawcard on the fairways at The Hills.''

The championship runs from February 28 to March 3 and includes a closing night concert by the Lynch Mob.

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- The Southland Times

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