Golfing feat of a lifetime

Wednesday July 18, 2018 Written by Published in Other Sports
A proud William Howard shows off the 12 under par record he set at the Rarotonga Golf Club recently. 18071711 A proud William Howard shows off the 12 under par record he set at the Rarotonga Golf Club recently. 18071711

William Howard brims with confidence as he recalls his historic feat that saw him set a new Rarotonga Golf Club record of 12 under par 70 (58 gross) recently.

“I reckon it will sit there for quite a while,” he says with an assured smile.

And there is no doubt about it. His last top score of eight under par, the previous club record, had remained untouched since 2014.

“Personally, I knew 62 wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t going to stand long in the club record, knowing how Kris (Williamson) and other guys here are playing,” the 25-year-old said.

“There are many guys out there who could potentially beat it but now with 58, I think it will take a while.”

The unplanned and unexpected feat took place on a gloomy Saturday, July 7, marred by a few light showers here and there and a bit of breeze – not the perfect conditions for this history-making play.

When William hit the greens for the Computer Man-sponsored tournament, setting a new club record, he said, was not part of his plan.

“It was not exactly on my mind when we started. It was all about going out there and having a good match against Haimona (Browne). I think that was the motivation because I don’t like losing to him,” he said.

“I started pretty well. I think the turning point where I thought I can get it was number 11. I eagled nine to go to six under and then birdied 10, birdied 11 to go to eight under so that equalled the record.

“I had seven holes left and I was 11 under. To be honest, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I wanted to beat the record. I stuck with whatever I was doing, just hit the greens in regulation and try and hold the putt. I managed 10 birdies and an eagle in total to achieve 58.”

Rivalry surely motivates William and he says he doesn’t have to look too far for competition.

His father Ned Howard is a former club champion and sister Rotana is the current women’s champion.

“There is a massive rivalry between the three of us. Like my dad, the day I shot 62, he didn’t even say congrats. When I walked in, he shook my hand and said ‘I will beat it’,” William remembers.

“And he said something similar when I shot 58. He said congrats but said, ‘I still could beat it’, so rivalry is still there and that’s what motivates me.”

Apart from his father, William said he could not stand losing to Browne and Royle Brogan. “The mentality changes when I’m up against these guys. There is motivation already but when I play against these three, it adds on, makes it a bit of fun and challenging too.”

His recent achievement has also seriously increased William’s chances of turning professional, but he is in no hurry.

He said there was another passion he was seriously considering and weighing against his love for golf.

“When I was growing up, I used to visit the airport every day after school because my mum was working for Air Raro. I grew up loving planes and always wanted to be a pilot,” William, who works for Air Rarotonga, said.

“I also came down here to play golf with my father since I was eight. It’s too complicated because they both are time-consuming so you’ve got to choose one or the other.

“I guess if I do become a pilot, I can still play golf which a couple of pilots do here but if I’m looking at the PGA Tour for golf, I have got to sacrifice the flying thing.

“At the moment, my mind is still weighing the options. I know golf is right there and so is my love for planes.”

For now, all William wants is to savour the golden moment of his career and continue improving in the weekly tournaments, chasing his own record of 12 under.

“For me, achieving this in a way is paying tribute to my mum and dad who have sort of brought us up at the golf club since we were young and dad being a major coach.

“I guess it’s giving something back to them, something that they can be proud of.” 

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