With his father on the bag and family and friends in support, Te Anau golfer David Klein stormed home to finish third in his national open and pocket more three times as much money as he's ever won from a tournament.
Klein carded a five-under par 67 in the final round of the $850,000 New Zealand Open at The Hills in Arrowtown yesterday, his 13-under par tally good enough for third, five shots behind Australian Dimi Papadatos.
The tall right-hander collected a cheque for $57,375 for third place, his previous best week's work being $18,300 a tie for 14th at last year's Australian PGA Championship.
Klein, who turned 23 on Wednesday, had no hesitation in claiming it as the biggest week of his career, easily toppling a win at the Charles Tour's Taranaki Open in 2012 and a couple of pro-am events on the New Zealand tour.
"I had friends and family up from Te Anau, it was good to see a few of them and this is like playing at home for me. It's as close as we get and I love coming to The Hills," said Klein, with proud father and caddie Franz looking on.
"I'm so stoked to shoot five-under to difficult conditions and finish off strong. I holed a bunker shot on the 14th for birdie, that was a massive highlight of the day, and had a birdie on 17, too."
Klein's day got better when fellow Kiwi Richard Lee bogeyed the last hole to drop out of a tie for third, boosting's Klein's winnings by $8290. The bogey cost Lee about $12,000. Klein also added another $5000 for finishing third in the pro-am event with his amateur partner.
He got to within one shot of Papadatos at one point but always knew the Australian, who shot the round of the day with a six-under 66, had the tournament in his hands. "There was no chance of stopping him."
Klein plies his trade in New Zealand and on the PGA Tour of Australasia but hopes to break through into the more lucrative OneAsia tour.
"If you are fortunate enough to play in Asia there's more money."
- The Southland Times
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