Kyle Maihi earns his way into New Zealand Open field

Kyle Maihi has won his third Maori national title at the New Zealand Maori Nationals yesterday, earning his place in the New Zealand Open field.

Poneke hosted the 86th staging of the popular Maori event, with over 300 golfers vying to be Maori national champions in their respective divisions held at Shandon and Te Marua Golf Clubs. Taupo Golf Club previously hosted the tournament for several years, highlighting the event’s popularity as elite golfers, rangatahi, and kaumatua of all abilities flocked to the new venue to tee off Maori Golf’s signature event.

Defending champion, Kyle Maihi, qualified as the second seed, and beat Patrick Werahiko in the round of 16, Richard Apanui in the quarters, and a strong performance in the semi-final to see off Keanu Howe.

He faced Maori Golf stalwart Marcus Lloyd in the final, who has supported the event for many years alongside his whanau. Maihi jumped out to an early lead and iced the tournament with an incredible eagle on the par 5 15th, winning 5&3 to earn a start in the New Zealand Open for the second year in-a-row for defending his title.

He says it’s hard to describe the winning feelings.

“It feels really special to win [my third title in a row]. I really enjoyed myself out there, and now I get to go to the New Zealand Open again and experience that again; I now know what I need to do to perform a bit better.

“Representing Maori Golf at the New Zealand Open is really special. I’m looking forward to representing our people with pride again – I felt like I did that last year, so I’m going to continue that.”

Maihi says the Maori National Championship is his favourite event, and it’s a privilege to win.

“There is no other event like this. Everyone is so supportive event though the stakes are high. It’s all about bringing people up, and after the golf, it’s all about the people. The people make this event so special.”

A successful event in Poneke, the New Zealand Maori Golf Association (NZMGA) would like to thank all of the volunteers, supporters, whanau, and players who support the Kaupapa and make the event so special.

The 87th installment of the Maori Golf National tournament will return back to Taupo in 2025.

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