Takahiro Hataji secured victory in New Zealand

Hataji, a 30-year-old professional from Hiroshima, Japan, who had not previously won on the Japan Tour, clinched his first victory on the Asian Tour in his third appearance, following two missed cuts in 2022

by Andrea Gussoni
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Takahiro Hataji secured victory in New Zealand
© Getty Images Sport - Hannah Peters / Staff

Japanese golfer Takahiro Hataji secured victory at the 103rd edition of the New Zealand Open with a total score of 267 (69 65 66 67, -17) strokes, narrowly edging out Australian Scott Hend, who finished second with 268 (-16) strokes.

The tournament, held across three courses at the Millbrook Resort & Country Club (Coronet Course, Remarkables Course, and Millbrook Course, where the final round took place, all par 71), in Arrowtown, New Zealand, saw Stefano Mazzoli finish 58th with a score of 279 (69 67 73 70, -5).

Takahiro Hataji, results

Hataji, a 30-year-old professional from Hiroshima, Japan, who had not previously won on the Japan Tour, clinched his first victory on the Asian Tour in his third appearance, following two missed cuts in 2022.

He claimed the title by rallying from third place with a final round score of 68 (-4), which included four birdies, surpassing Hend, who had led after three rounds but stumbled with a bogey on the last hole (70, -2, four birdies, two bogeys).

Hataji received a prize of $201,686 from a purse of approximately $1,220,000 (the official amount being two million New Zealand dollars). In third place, tied with a score of 269 (-19), were New Zealander Josh Geary and Australians Anthony Quayle and Matthew Griffin, the latter of whom had led alongside Hend after three rounds.

In sixth place were three more local players, Ben Wharton, Brad Kennedy, and Justin Warren, along with South African Ian Snyman. Mazzoli's score was matched by Australian Branden Jones, who was defending his title. Stefano Mazzoli also earned a prize in the third tournament of the season on the circuit, having gained entry with an eighth-place finish in the Qualifying School.

Previously, he had finished 31st in the Malaysian Open and 48th in the International Series Oman. He also made the cut in his sole appearance on the Asian Tour, before obtaining his card, finishing 42nd in the Saudi International in January 2023.

In the final round, he climbed 22 positions with a score of 70 (-2) after a rocky start with a bogey and a double bogey on the front nine, followed by four birdies on the back nine.

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