Rookie happy for wind to rear its head
He's one of just two Canterbury professionals in the field, but the the New Zealand Open marks the start of a big fortnight for Ashburton's Daniel Pearce.
While his tee shot on the first hole tomorrow at Clearwater will be his first as a professional, he could be excused for having other things on his mind.
Pearce marries his fiancee, Sarah, next Saturday in Hawke's Bay.
Before then, however, he has his work cut out for him to tame the tricky Clearwater course and the forecast wind in an attempt to pick up his first golfing pay cheque.
"It's exciting," he said.
"This is something I've been working a long time for and to finally get the chance to play as a professional and to have a go at winning some money is great."
Pearce, 25, has been in the mix with New Zealand amateur teams for several years and his golfing journey has taken him from Ashburton to Christchurch to Hawke's Bay to Melbourne and now back to Ashburton.
He credits his move to Australia to his improved maturity and mental approach and hopes those changes can help him become successful as a pro.
Alongside New Zealand Eisenhower Trophy team member Ben Campbell, Pearce was part of the Yarra Yarra team that won the Melbourne metropolitan pennant division one flag.
After the New Zealand Open - and a brief honeymoon - Pearce plans to play in the Australasian Q-school then head to the OneAsia Tour Q-school in Thailand early in the new year.
But for now, his priority is doing as well as he can at Clearwater where neither the wind nor water intimidate the tall and powerful Pearce.
"I like the wind," he said.
"Some guys don't like it and that affects them, but I don't mind it blowing. I guess it's because I've got a good long game, but at least in the wind you know what way your ball's going to go. And you can use the wind, you can use it to your advantage if you're not scared of it."
Also to his advantage is his knowledge of the course.
Pearce has played Clearwater plenty of times and said the length, especially into the wind, could play into his hands.
While Pearce knows his debut won't be easy, a share of the A$400,000 (NZ$508,300), purse is one big motivator.
Especially with a wedding right around the corner.
❏ Canterbury No 1 Jordan Bakermans returned this week from a successful tour of Argentina.
Bakermans and Manawatu's Josh Munn finished second in the prestigious Juan Carlos tournament then last weekend made the quarterfinals of the Argentina amateur championship.
Bakermans qualified through to the main draw, but was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Canadian Garret Rank.
Rank was then beaten by Munn, who came up short in the final when beaten 5 and 3 by Spain's Antoni Ferrer Mercant in a 36-hole contest at the Estancias Golf Club.
Bakermans did not return in time to play off for the 26 remaining spots for this week's New Zealand Open at Clearwater and missed out on a tournament invite.
To make matters worse for the Christchurch club player, the rest of the Canterbury interprovincial team - Owen Burgess, Harry Bateman, Nic Kay, Tom Turner and reserve Jason Yoo - all qualified through Monday's one-round shootout at Russley and will all play the 72-hole championship.
Five members of the Canterbury golf team qualified for the New Zealand Open starting tomorrow. Combined with Clearwater's own amateur James Cadenhead, the local amateurs will easily outnumber the Canterbury pros of which there are only two – Christchurch club pro Anthony Doyle and new pro Daniel Pearce
The word caddy comes from the French word for student, cadet, which is pronounced cad-DAY.
The 1947 US Open in St Louis was the first golfing event to be televised.