Hero photograph

All Abilities Golf Championships

Parker 'Aluesi —

My name is Parker ‘Aluesi and I am a Year 13 student at Otago Boys’ High School. I play golf for the Otago Boys’ Golf Team which I am also captain for. Recently I got to go and play in the Inaugural All Abilities Championship.

This was an international golf event run in conjunction with the New Zealand Open for golfers with impairments such as myself. The tournament was held in Arrowtown/Queenstown with one round being at Jacks Point, one at The Hills and the top 6 golfers would tee off in front of the New Zealand Open field on Sunday Morning.

Due to strong winds, the round at Jacks Point was cancelled. This meant that the tournament was reduced to 36 holes. After a rough round at The Hills, I found myself in 2nd place but 7 shots back off the leader heading into the final day. Lying in bed on the Saturday night, I can remember the nerves of teeing off that next morning. It was a 7.35am tee off the next morning so my caddie Jake and I arrived on course at the driving range just after 6:00am. 

Starting the day I knew I needed to play well and apply pressure to the leader. I started off well with hitting my approach shot on the first to 12 feet but just missing my birdie putt. What started as a 7 shot lead was reduced to 3 shots as we were standing on the 10th tee after I had birdied the 9th to close out the front 9 in even par. A double bogey on the 10th increased the lead to 5 but standing on the 16th tee, a driveable par 4 I had managed to get to only 2 shots back. After letting my playing partners tee off as I was waiting for the green to clear, I stood up on the 16th tee knowing this could be a make or break shot and hit one of the shots of my life to knock my drive on the green to 25 feet for eagle. After 2 putting for birdie the lead was reduced to only 1 shot with 2 holes to play. After both the leader and I made par down 17 the difficult 18th awaited us. A 153m par 3 with water surrounding the green. I have never been so nervous in my life hitting that tee shot with cameras and a crowd watching me. I hit my tee shot to the middle of the green where I 2 putted for par for a round of +2 73. Unfortunately, I ended up losing by 2 as the leader Jiri, from Chez Republic made birdie on 18.

Although coming up just shy of winning, I had an amazing week and it was pretty cool to be able to play on 2 New Zealand Open courses under those conditions and pressure. I shot rounds of 82+73 while Jiri shot rounds of 75+78 to win by 2 shots.