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It’s a long drive to the top

Wednesday 25 January 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Golf, Sports


It’s a long drive to the top
Ranked number one in the world for women’s long drive, Phillis Meti and her mother Phillis visit Rarotonga and purchase ei at the Punanga Nui Market. PC: MELINA ETCHES. 23012302

Ranked number one in the world for women’s long drive, Cook Islander Phillis Meti MNZM, a New Zealand golfer, visited Rarotonga last week with her mother Phillis Sr.

Amidst her full on golfing schedule, Meti made the trip home to attend the unveiling of her beloved grandmother Tina Roriki from Inave, Arorangi.

Meti hit drives of 386 yards, 371 yards and then 408 yards. Then in 2018 she broke her previous world record with her out-of-this-world 413-yard drive. In 2019, she broke her own world record twice in the same set 408 yards followed by 414 yards - three victories and three runner-up finishes of six events left Meti as World #1 and World record holder.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Meti was introduced to golf by her late father Teremoana Meti, her mother Phillis is from the Pittman family.

Meti is now based back in the USA competing and laying new paving stones for herself and her future.

During her time away (due to Covid) in New Zealand, she joined the PGA of New Zealand, “I could have another accreditation behind my back,” she says.

What Meti ultimately wants to do is to go back to America, to have a facility for young ones from New Zealand, the Cook Islands and anywhere in the Pacific.

“To come over and look at the pathway of perhaps university sport,  having a student, athlete, lifestyle.

“Having an option and also knowing that there is someone like them on the other side - especially for the parents where they feel a little bit more comfortable.”

One reason Meti wasn’t able to attend college in America was because it was too far for her late father - who would say “if something happened I can’t get to you”, “so hopefully I can narrow that gap and give our kids more options so that they can go and experience things,” she says.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to become a professional, “ go qualify yourself and come back and share your experiences,” she added.

A professional golfer at the age of 35, Meti says, “it’s an interesting juggle at this moment of life, but, the older I get, the less I’ll compete the more I’ll wanna put my hands in the mix of being a part of that recruiting process.”

Because of the Covid pandemic, golf has taken off again, during the pandemic people stayed home and had to find something new to do, she adds.

 “World-wide plus or minus golf is up about 40%, in participation and equipment sold and everything, with that being said, long drive took a bit of a back seat,” but events were still held last year and of the seven events she hit in - she won five of them.

Meti was invested as MNZM, for services to sport, particularly golf, at Government House, Auckland, on 17 February 2022.