Lucky random prize draw winner scores entry to New Zealand’s premier golfing event.

A skilled amateur club-grade golfer has been elevated to the international professional sporting stage - thanks to his name being drawn out of the proverbial ‘hat’.

Long-time Southland and Otago motel owner/operator Samyul Lee was among tens of thousands of New Zealand club golfers who entered a competition organised by Golf New Zealand and New Zealand Open sponsor Hyundai New Zealand over the past three months.

Straight-hitting Samyul is the winner of a prize every part-time Kiwi golfer dreams of; a spot playing in the Pro-Am event as part of the New Zealand Open. This prestigious event is taking place at Millbrook Resort near Queenstown from February 29 – March 3. The Hyundai prize pack also includes return airfares, accommodation, entertainment and a practice round for Samyul in the lead up to the New Zealand Open.

However, sponsor Hyundai will be making some savings on the prize – as Ironically and by a huge co-incidence, the New Zealand Open will be played on Samyul’s home course… as the 58-year-old is a member of Millbrook Resort Golf Club.

For seven years, Samyul has been a volunteer caddy for professional Korean golfers at the New Zealand Open, so his escalation up the playing rankings through the Hyundai prize win has seen several of his close friends offer to carry the bag for him this year.

Korean-born Samyul, a past president of the well-patronised Korean Golf Association in New Zealand and who plays off an impressive 1.6 handicap, said he never dreamed of taking to the fairways and greens alongside professional golfers… as well as some of New Zealand’s top amateur golfers in the country’s foremost golfing championship.

He expected the Millbrook Pro-Am’ experience to eclipse his 11 tours from New Zealand to Korea to play as ‘Kiwis’ in an international sports festival – with his best finish being a bronze medal placing.

Samyul, who has been playing golf for 32-years and has three hole-in-ones to his credit, admits his local knowledge of the Millbrook Resort holes, where he plays three-times a week over summer, would help give him a competitive advantage over the international and local tour professionals he’ll
be playing against.

Hyundai New Zealand Chief Executive Scott Kelsey congratulated Samyul on his selection, and said he was looking forward to welcoming the skilful swinger on the manicured greens and fairways of Millbrook Resort next month as part of the truly memorable prize.

“There are a lot of Kiwi golfers out there who will be very envious of Samyul, and we know he’ll be making the most of this awesome opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best professional golfers on the Asia/Pacific tour, along with the likes of our own global stars Steven Alker, Ben Campbell, and Daniel Hiller, in addition to celebrity Kiwi sportspeople golfers Stephen Fleming, Sean Fitzpatrick, Israel Dagg, Ricky Ponting and Sir Ian Botham,” said Scott Kelsey.

“It’s every Kiwi golfer’s dream to play in an event like the New Zealand Open, of which Hyundai is a major sponsor, and we look forward to sharing in the various activities with Samyul both on and off the course in what will be a real celebration of golf… even if it is being played on the course he’s on three days a week already.”

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