A second place finish at the 100th New Zealand Open last week has put Australian Ashley Hall in good stead ahead of the 2019 SEC NZ PGA Championship.
Following a runner-up finish at the NZ PGA in 2018, Hall enters the tournament in hot form as he aims for the top of the leaderboard but insists such a strong result last week was somewhat unexpected.
“It was good,” said Hall of last week’s result. “It was a touch unexpected but it’s what I’ve always thought could happen and it’s why we’re here.
“I enjoy the highs a little bit more now so yeah it was good fun.”
A strong start to 2019 on the ISPS HANDA Tour of Australasia has boosted Hall’s confidence, giving him the belief that his form is where it needs to be to add his name to the winner’s list.
“I’ll be rolling with what I’ve got,” said Hall ahead of Thursday’s tee off.
“I tend to play good in patches or weeks in a row so I’m feeling pretty positive that I can have a good week again this week.
“There are some parts of my game especially my putting after last week that I haven’t seen too much of lately.
“If I can keep that putter going I think I’ve always hit it well enough, it’s just whether the putter gets hot or cold but it certainly feels more confident.”
Despite having played in Christchurch throughout his career, the SEC NZ PGA Championship will be Hall’s first visit to the Pegasus Golf and Sports Club layout.
“It’s a familiar place; we used to play in Christchurch a lot but I haven’t been here before,” said Hall, who played his first nine holes at the course on Tuesday morning.
“There’s a lot of water around so some guys might look at that and struggle a little bit but it’s in great shape, I know that, so that’s good fun.
“It’s a little bit soft but I think the weather is meant to be pretty good so I hope it dries out a little bit for the weekend.”
Reflecting on last year’s event, the Melburnian believes the Christchurch course could play to his advantage if the wind picks up across the weekend, more so than last year at Manawatu Golf Club in Palmerston.
“That other course in Palmerston I wouldn’t have said would have suited me,” continued Hall, despite his second place finish on the Manawatu layout.
“It was very narrow and I don’t tend to hit it straight a lot of the time but this is a totally different golf course.
“It will be good here if it gets windy. It’s windy back home a lot in Melbourne so I don’t mind in the wind.”
With a job to return home to following the New Zealand tournament Hall will play the event without the added pressure of relying on prize money, aiming to enjoy his golf out on the pristine Pegasus Golf and Sports Club course.
“There’s no pressure at all,” said Hall. “I’ve got a job to go back to on Monday so I’ll still do that as planned so there’s no pressure at all.”
“Certainly winning is the goal but just to have a chance on Sunday is what I am for in every event and I ticked that box last week so it’d be great to be up there again.”
The SEC NZ PGA Championship will be played at Pegasus Golf and Sports Club from 7 – 10 March, 2019.
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