OUR STORY: 1957 – 1966

Our Story continues, this time looking at a largely Australian dominated period with a great rivalry between two of the tournament's greats and The Black Knight visits New Zealand!

The 10 tournaments between 1957 and 1966 were largely dominated by Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle who both picked up four championships each.

Nagle picked up the 1957 & 1958 crowns with two and four-shot victories in Manawatu & Hamilton respectively. Thomson piled the pressure on Nagle finishing runner up in both of these victories.

1958 also saw future golf legend, Gary Player hit New Zealand’s shores in Hamilton.  Alongside Player, Harold Henning and David Thomas lined up to compete for the New Zealand Open with the field regarded at the time as the best ever to contest the championship.

Thomson then took his chance, he hit back winning three in a row between 1959 – 1961. The first in an 18-hole playoff where he edged Nagle 67 to 73 in Paraparaumu Beach, the second was a one-shot victory over Nagle in Invercargill and then a comprehensive nine-shot win, again over Nagle in New Plymouth

While Nagle would again finish runner up to Thomson in 1965, he had already picked up the 1962 & 1964 titles to add to his tally of New Zealand Open Championships.

1964 also saw The New Zealand Open Championship became a standalone event, and no longer played alongside the Amateur Championship.

In a largely Australian dominated period, Sir Bob Charles picked up the only victory by a Kiwi in 1966, with a 13-shot victory over England’s Gary Wolstenholme in Paraparaumu Beach. Charles shot-19 under, 273 on his way to his second New Zealand Open victory and his first as a professional.

The lowest winning total during this period was 266, 26 under par by Kel Nagle in 1964. The highest winning score was also recorded by Nagle with a 294 in Manawatu in 1957.

Year Champion Nationality Course Score Winning Margin Runner Up
1957 Kel Nagle Australia Manawatu 294 4 Strokes Peter Thomson
1958 Kel Nagle Australia Hamilton 275 2 Strokes Peter Thomson
1959 Peter Thomson Australia Paraparaumu Beach 287 Playoff Kel Nagle
1960 Peter Thomson Australia Invercargill 281 1 stroke Kel Nagle
1961 Peter Thomson Australia New Plymouth 267 9 strokes Kel Nagle
1962 Kel Nagle Australia Titirangi 281 2 strokes Walter Godfrey (a)
1963 Bruce Devlin Australia Wanganui 273 1 stroke Peter Thomson
1964 Kel Nagle Australia Christchurch 266 12 strokes Frank Phillips
1965 Peter Thomson (8) Australia Auckland 278 8 strokes Bob Charles
Kel Nagle
1966 Bob Charles (2) New Zealand Paraparaumu Beach 273 13 strokes Gary Wolstenholme

Read the previous articles: Our Story: 1907 – 1920 | Our Story: 1921 – 1930 | Our Story: 1931 – 1946 | Our Story: 1947 – 1957

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