Kang wins coveted spot at New Zealand Open at Race to Tieke

Dongwoo Kang produced the goods, making a birdie on his final hole to earn his place at the New Zealand Open.

The Race to Tieke is the 2023 season-finale on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour, where the top 24 professionals in last year’s season, plus tournament invitations and elite amateurs and juniors, competed over 54 holes at Tieke Golf Estate – Waikato’s marquee golf course.

The Race to Tieke trophy wasn’t the only prize on the line during today’s final round. The professional or amateur with the best result who wasn’t already exempt into the New Zealand Open earned a spot.

The tournament within the tournament saw five players fighting for the spot all tied late in the back nine. However, Jennian Homes Charles Tour stalwart Dongwoo Kang produced the goods, making a birdie on his final hole to earn his place in the field again.

“It’s very special. I got a call from Dave Mangan at the beginning of the week asking whether I was playing or not, and I wouldn’t miss it! This is one of the best golf courses in the North Island and the first edition of the Race to Tieke – I’m privileged to be here.

“As soon as I heard there was a spot on offer for the New Zealand Open, I was very excited. I was hoping to play well enough to secure my spot.”

Now that he has secured his place in New Zealand’s national championship, Kang says he can’t wait to get down to Queenstown.

“It’s a tournament unlike any other in the world. It’s a really special week, and we get to play with some really great amateur partners alongside a strong field of professionals from Australasia. It’s going to be a challenge trying to compete with these guys – as a club professional, I try my best to finish well, and I can’t wait to be back.”

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