Hillier youngest NZ amateur winner

Daniel Hillier is the youngest player to win the New Zealand men’s amateur golf title.

The Aotea College year 12 student created his own niche in New Zealand golf history when beating fellow teenager Sam Vincent 6 and 5 in the 36-hole final at the Titirangi course, in Auckland, on Sunday.

 Hillier was 16 years and 267 days on Sunday, while former world No 1 amateur Danny Lee was 16 years and 272 days when he won the 2007 title. Both players have July birthdays.

Hillier is the third 16-year-old to win the championship, which was first held in 1893, the other being Walter Godfrey, who was 16 years and 359 days when he won in 1958.

 Hillier was thrilled to learn that he was the youngest winner and had broken one of Lee’s records. “It’s awesome.” Lee is now playing on the PGA tour and Hillier dreams of getting to the same level.

 In the meantime, he is content to enjoy what has been a wonderful month.

His national title came nine days after he finished third in the Australian under-18 championships, at his overseas debut.

He has taken enormous strides over the past six months, going from being a promising youngster to measuring up against the country’s leading amateurs.

 But the aspect of last weekend’s win that probably excited Hillier the most was that the victory guaranteed him a place in the field for the 2016 New Zealand Open.

“It would be a great experience to play in the Open. There are not many spots [in the field] for amateurs and to qualify for the tournament, almost a year before the event, is awesome.”