New Zealand’s Michael Barltrop held off his elder brother Rodney and Hong Kong’s Joe Pethes to win the Hong Kong Seniors Open Amateur Championship by the narrowest of margins at Fanling in early December.
Barltrop, 56, fired a 73 in the final round to finish with a three-day total of 222 (nine-overpar) to claim his first international victory on his debut appearance in the event. Rodney Barltrop, long considered the finest senior amateur in New Zealand history, finished alongside Pethes in a share of second, a shot back.
"He’s had the wood over me for a long time now so to get one over him was very nice,” said the younger Barltrop of his brother. Michael last played in Hong Kong in 1984 when he was part of the New Zealand Eisenhower Cup side. “I haven’t won anything in about 30 years, so I’m very happy,” he added.
Michael, who held a share of the overnight lead with England’s Stuart Pond, birdied two of his first six holes over the Old Course to build a handy advantage, but let things slip with a bogey at the ninth and a double bogey at the 10th. A further bogey at the 15th cut his lead to one, but he was able to regroup and par the remaining three holes to fend off his closest challengers.
"I got off to a good start and established a decent lead but I almost gave it back to the rest of them around the turn,” admitted Michael, a member at Royal Auckland Golf Club. “But I played nicely after that and look forward to returning next year to try and defend my title."
Pethes, who was looking to become the first local player to win the championship since Terry Collins in 2004, carded a best-of-the-day 72.
"I three-putted three times but I also made some good putts, so I’m not at all disappointed with finishing second," said the Hong Kong Golf Club member, who had the consolation of winning the 60-64 age division.
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