HONG KONG, March 4 - New Zealander Michael Hendry showed he is bang on form for the start of the 2013 OneAsia season next week by going back-to-back at the NZPGA Championship on Sunday, winning the title in a playoff over Australian Scott Strange.
Hendry, a winner of OneAsia in 2010 at the Indonesia Open, presented by Enjoy Jakarta, birdied the first playoff hole to seal the victory with a tournament total 19-under 269.
“I’ve actually won every playoff I’ve ever been in which is obviously a good record -- not that I thought about that prior to going out,” said Hendry.
“I felt pretty comfortable on the tee -- I just said you’ve done the hard work now just finish it off.”
Opening his round with three consecutive birdies, Hendry spent the day tussling with fellow OneAsia winner Strange (2009 Volvo China Open) and compatriot Gareth Paddison.
“I was aware of what was happening all day but there was a few times when I was a bit surprised.
“Coming through nine I thought I was probably a couple up and then I was walking up on the 10th tee and saw that Gareth had come from nowhere.
“Obviously I was watching it the whole way coming in through the last four of five as well knowing how tight it was.”
Hendry becomes the first person since Frank Nobilo to successful defend the title. Nobilo achieved the feat in 1985 and 1987 after the tournament wasn’t played in 1986.
“You come into the week thinking this is my trophy, I’m not going to give it to anyone else. I had that attitude all week so to retain it is unbelievable.
“If people are going to put my name with the likes of Frank Nobilo and Sir Bob Charles, it’s fantastic.
“One of my goals is to be regarded as one of New Zealand’s best when I hang up my boots and hopefully I’m on the way to doing it.”
He will now head to the United States for this week's WGC Cadillac Championship in winning form and is ready to test his skill against the world’s best.
“Hopefully I can continue my good form and have a good week and finish right up there,” added Hendry.
“There's no reason why I can't go over there and compete. It's just a matter of maintaining the equilibrium and not trying to get carried away with who I'm playing with and the other people around.”
After that, Hendry is entered in the opening two events on OneAsia -- the Thailand Open (March 14 - 17) and the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia PGA Championship (March 28 - 31).
The events will hold special significance for Hendry as both are co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) and the tall Kiwi won limited status on that tour via Q-School in December.