Barson finds the winning mix

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 08:42 08/12/2012
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Dominic Barson

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Having spent 20 years chasing a little white ball around to make a crust, Dominic Barson is now philosophical about the life of a professional golfer.

"You always want to play well and make some money. But it's not everything, there's family and other things," he said.

That more mature and relaxed attitude seems to be working for the New Plymouth 38-year-old, who broke a long drought with victory in a 36-hole New Zealand PGA tournament at the Fairview course near Katikati last weekend.

"It's my first win for a couple of years," he said. "It's been a while."

Barson eagled the last hole of his opening round on Saturday to finish with a five-under-par 67 - two shots behind Omokoroa's Kieran Muir. He backed it up with a 68 on Sunday to win by two shots from Hastings pro Leighton James, who shot rounds of 70 and 67.

Muir (65, 73) finished third equal with Omanu's James Hamilton (70, 68).

"One win doesn't mean you're the best, but it's nice to win. I've worked hard over the last couple of months and there's been signs. It's just consistency," he said.

"Fairview is a tough course and to finish nine under was great. They've got two 600m par fives. One has out of bounds all the way down the left and hazard all the way on the right. It's scary. Grunter [Grant Moorhead] hit two iron, two iron, two iron one day and I hit driver, 3 iron, six iron."

The win capped off a good week for Barson.

Midweek, he finished third at the Cambridge Pro-Am with a four-under par 68, then finished in a share of sixth at the Mt Maunganui Pro-Am with a one- under-par 71.

Barson's life revolves around golf and his family - his partner Candy Fox and three children, Zak, 14, Toby, 11, and Daisy, 9.

"I'm incredibly lucky. While it's always nice to make some money playing golf, it's not the end of the world if I don't.

"Candy is a psychiatrist for the elderly at Taranaki Base Hospital and she looks after me a bit. She's very supportive. But we've still got a mortgage like everyone else," he said.

"I can look after the kids, pick them up from school. They come first."

He also finds time to give golf lessons and has a part-time job as a sales rep for Linkz Marketing.

"I'm their sales rep for the South Island and the lower North Island.

"I have six week-long trips to the South Island each year and four-day round trips down to Wellington and back via Masterton visiting golf clubs and shops."

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Barson was born in Palmerston North but moved to Hawera when he was one or two where he lived until he was 13.

"My family then moved to Auckland and I took up an apprenticeship with Geoff Smart at The Grange. I played Auckland juniors for a couple of years and turned pro when I was 16."

The decision in 1991 paid immediate dividends. He won a Pro-Am at Springfield in Rotorua, finished second a day later at Lake View and third at Arikikapakapa.

"There was an overall prize and I won a weekend at Huka Lodge."

He tried his luck as a touring pro for a few years on the Australasian tour and has played mostly on the New Zealand circuit and South Pacific circuit since.

"I've won about 30 Pro-Am events around the country over the years and won the Tahiti Open . . . I think in 1997. Grunter finished second that year. He's won it four or five times but that year I beat him by six shots. A week later he won in New Caledonia and I finished second."

Barson said he had pretty much won everything on offer in New Zealand apart from the New Zealand PGA and the New Zealand Open.

"I've never had success in those events. The nearest I got was the year Nick Price won the title. I was only a youngster. I looked up at the leaderboard after 27 holes and saw I was second. It was a big deal to see my name up there, but I fell away."

Barson said some people believed he never lived up to the promise he showed as a young pro.

"I didn't have the money back then to go and play fulltime," he said.

"I had the game, but you need money behind you.

"It's also a mental thing and you need that toughness to compete week-in, week-out. It's all part of learning."

Barson was the pro at Ngamotu for six or seven years before heading to Rotorua to take on a similar role at the driving range there.

"I was there for about 18 months and then headed to Greenacres in Nelson for six years," he said. "Then it was Auckland for a year before we came down here two years ago."

- Taranaki Daily News

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