Nothing like seeing your name on the leaderboard

16:00, Mar 05 2014

What an amazing rollercoaster couple of days at the NZ Open.

I was just fizzing to play my country's national open - one round at Millbrook and another at The Hills.

I was coming off good form from the Lawn Master and I just wanted to get into it.

I was drawn to play round one at Millbrook. I started d a bit shaky being one over par after six holes.

A few left balls were creeping in with the driver, but once I settled my nerves with a wedge birdie on the seventh I was away.

I hit a great stretch of birdies on 10, 11, 12 and just missed another on 13.

Then I made up and down for par from 127m on 14 to keep my momentum going strong.

I lipped out on 16 for birdie in front of a supportive crowd and set myself up for birdies, but failed to convert on 17 and 18.

I went into the clubhouse one behind the lead, which was very exciting.

I was thrilled at how comfortable I was out there and how easily it came once I settled down into my game.

And with a couple putts lipping out it so easily could have been much better.

Round two was a different story.

Starting with a three putt on the 10th hole, I went on to miss a short putt on 11 and had to chip sideways on 12 which made for three quick bogies. Then the weather hit me on 13 and I was left battling the elements.

I continued to spiral downwards until I had a long talk to myself and decided this wasn't how I was going to bow out of the NZ Open.

I fought back hard from seven over par through nine holes to rattle off four birdies on the second nine.

I finished on six over par missing the cut, but I was so happy I bowed out on good terms.

Later that night I was doing my stats and I tallied up 81, not an 80.

So I compared my hole scores on the internet to my own stats and realised one stroke had been missed out.

I was in line to win the Bledisloe Cup for leading amateur, but knowing this information I rang up and disqualified myself for signing an incorrect scorecard.

It's a hard lesson to learn, and I will only let that happen the once.

But there is no way I could accept a trophy with this knowledge - my morals wouldn't let me.

So I take that as a valuable lesson. Although people keep asking me what happened on my bad nine, I still see the three great nines I played. You can't take away that thrill of being on the leaderboard after round one.

I thank everyone after this event in particular for all the great support I received.

My caddie (Julian Morris) and I felt all the love after round one and that was such a thrill.

Now I head to Melbourne for the Riversdale Cup, an event in which I expect to continue my good start to this year.

Southland golfer Vaughan McCall is one of New Zealand's leading amateurs.


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