The Hills Golf Club - Lydia Ko - hole 13
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The Hills Golf Club - Lydia Ko - hole 13
New Zealand's rising star, Lydia Ko, hits her tee shot on the 13th hole at the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
New Zealand PGA Championship - Lydia Ko and Bob Charles
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New Zealand PGA Championship - Lydia Ko and Bob Charles
New Zealand's past, Bob Charles, and New Zealand's future, Lydia Ko, played together during the third round of the New Zealand PGA Championship at The Hills Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - wolves
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The Hills Golf Club - wolves
An incredible set of sculptures, featuring more than 100 wolves attacking a swordsman, lines the 18th hole of The Hills Golf Club, home of the New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - Lydia Ko - hole 12
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The Hills Golf Club - Lydia Ko - hole 12
Lydia Ko shows off her classic golf swing on the 12th tee of the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - Hale Irwin - hole 1
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The Hills Golf Club - Hale Irwin - hole 1
Three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin watches his putt slide by the hole on the first green of The Hills Golf Club in the third round of the New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - hole 15
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The Hills Golf Club - hole 15
Most pros tried to drive the 301-yard 15th hole on The Hills Golf Club during the New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club
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The Hills Golf Club
The Remarkables Mountains surround The Hills Golf Club, home of the New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - Lydia Ko - hole 1
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The Hills Golf Club - Lydia Ko - hole 1
New Zealand's rising star, Lydia Ko, hits her first tee shot at the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - 4th
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The Hills Golf Club - 4th
The fourth hole is the first par 3 at The Hills Golf Club, home of the New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - hole 2
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The Hills Golf Club - hole 2
The second hole at The Hills Golf Club is a short par 4 that players in the New Zealand PGA Championship can attack. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Hills Golf Club - hole 3
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The Hills Golf Club - hole 3
Mountains dominate the backdrop of the third hole at The Hills Golf Club, site of the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Golf stars align -- including Lydia Ko, Bob Charles and champion Michael Hendry -- at 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship in Queenstown

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand -- The real winner of the 2013 New Zealand PGA Championship was New Zealand golf, not Michael Hendry.

True, the Auckland resident provided the perfect script, sinking a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defend his tournament crown, but it was as if every star aligned for tournament officials, fans and sponsors who were treated to a great show at The Hills Golf Club.

The Hills, an exclusive club in the shadow of the Remarkables Mountains, is a true work of art, a demanding course with all sorts of intrigue and nuance. A handful of unique sculptures purchased by course owner Sir Michael Hill add even more scenery to the landscape.

Every fan stopped to photograph the stunning pack of more than 100 wolves attacking a swordsman near the Champions Lounge along the final fairway. The biggest show came when New Zealand's storied past collided with its future. Kiwi legend Bob Charles, a three-time champion of the event, paired up with Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur sensation who has already won an LPGA Tour event, on Saturday as celebrity amateurs.

Charles, the first lefty to win a major, had never played with the teenage sensation before.

"She has no holes in her game," he confirmed.

Even three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin overcame the disappointment of missing the cut to provide some fireworks. He made eagle on the drivable 15th hole both rounds on the weekend, earning fans at the designated party hole 2-for-1 drinks.

The New Zealand PGA Championship hopes to grow into the top pro-am in Australasia. A first-class finish -- accented by an air show and men in kilts playing bagpipes marching down the fairway -- certainly proved the tournament appears well on its way to something special.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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