NEW CHALLENGES: Richard Wright has given up playing overseas, preferring to live full-time on the Coast.
NEW CHALLENGES: Richard Wright has given up playing overseas, preferring to live full-time on the Coast. John Mccutcheon

Coast golfer caught in middle of real life PNG shootout

THE Sunshine Coast's Richard Wright recalls witnessing a gun shootout on a Papua New Guinean golf course as the scariest moment of his life.

Wright was playing in a tournament in PNG earlier this year when he witnessed the terrifying event.

He was on the sixth hole of his opening round when he saw a jeep smash through the chicken-wire fence bordering the fairway, with another car in pursuit as gun shots rang through the air.

The 30-year-old understandably "ran off like a little girl" and watched the event unfold just 200 metres away.

Hiding in nearby bush as both cars came to a halt, he heard "some" gunshots before the vehicles were driven away.

"I will never forget the popping sound of the guns," Wright said.

"The car was absolutely screaming along the side of the road, clearly going over the speed limit, and the car behind them started opening fire.

"It was like a movie scene with the guy hanging out the side of the passenger seat trying to take his wheels out.

"As it turned out, there had been an armed hold-up and they were after the guy who had done the hold-up in the getaway car."

Amazingly, Wright was instructed to play on just minutes after the incident.

"My next shot was hitting directly to where it all took place," he said.

"I three-putted that hole and made a double bogey on the next par three, but played reasonably well after that and finished 20th in the tournament."

After two years competing in golf tournaments around the world, the Horton Park Golf Club member has decided to leave the stresses of travelling behind to live on the Coast full-time.

Originally from Hamilton, New Zealand, Wright completed a Bachelor of Exercise Science while undergoing a golf traineeship in NZ that was equivalent to the Australian PGA Traineeship Program.

He plays for Tewantin Noosa as an opening bats-man in the local cricket competition and will continue to compete in golf tournaments next year, but for now he has his sights set on tackling the Sunshine Coast property market when he finishes his real estate studies.

"I always loved study and finding out how stuff works, which has led me to real estate and I look forward to using my customer-service skills," he said.

On a possible return to PNG, Wright said: "I wouldn't discourage anyone from going there, but I won't be getting back there in a hurry."



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