Kennedy finishes 2011 in style by winning the New Zealand Open.
|Brad Kennedy wins the New Zealand Open. Getty Images|
Earlier this year, Brad Kennedy spoke to Aussie Golfer about life on the Japan Tour and his good performances which earned him a spot in his first major golf tournament, The Open Championship.
There is no doubt that 2011 has been the best year of his career, after winning the New Zealand Open by beating Craig Parry in sudden-death playoff.
Kennedy was in the box seat on the sudden-death playoff hole, with the more experienced Parry finding trouble off the tee. After finding the green with his third shot, it looked like Parry may extend the tournament, but Kennedy topped off a great year by rolling in a 20-foot birdie put to add his name to a trophy alongside the likes of Bob Charles, Michael Campbell and Peter Thomson.
“To win a New Zealand Open, with all the great names on it and one of the oldest Opens in the world is pretty special to me,” said Kennedy.
“The playoff was great. I didn’t try to two-putt it, I thought do it on your own terms. To play against someone like Craig and holing a putt for birdie is fantastic. I backed Craig to make his so I knew I had to make it to win.”
It was a final hole slip up by Parry that lead to the playoff hole.
Arriving at the final hole, Parry had a two shot lead over Kennedy but dunked his golf ball in the water and made double-bogey. Kennedy had a chance to win the event but failed to make the hole with a poor birdie putt.
Kennedy had played superb golf all week and had a three-shot lead going into the final round. In tough, windy conditions he soon found himself back with the chasing pack including Craig Parry and Josh Geary, but steadied on the final nine holes to right the ship. He made par on every hole on the back nine, displaying some of the calm, confident golf he had shown for most of the week.
This was only Kennedy’s second professional victory. He won the WA Open in 2010 with an eagle on the final hole. With this win, Brad Kennedy gets a two-year exemption on the Australasian Tour and will be looking forward to 2012.
“The last 14 months have been great for me with the win at Western Australia, in Japan and now this.”
OPINION Tiresome shake-up of professional golf is a circus and bad for public golf
Open champion Cameron Smith won't comment on LIV Golf League rumour
WATCH Shoe Golf with Jimmy Fallon and Michael Strahan
Nick Faldo breaks down as he departs golf commentary
Ashleigh Buhai wins the AIG Women’s Open after play-off for first major title: video highlights