Cricket greats to play golf tournament
Three of the greatest cricket captains in test history have been confirmed as celebrity golfers for the New Zealand Open Championship in Arrowtown next February. Australian legends Ricky Ponting and Allan Border, and arguably New Zealand’s finest captain Stephen Fleming, are among the sport stars to confirm their place in the biggest tournament staged in New Zealand for many years. Ponting was excited to about his debut in the event that will take place at Sir Michael Hill’s The Hills course and neighbouring Millbrook. ‘‘I have always loved coming to New Zealand throughout my cricketing career and I haven’t spent any time in Queenstown so to play in an event like this will be a great experience,’’ he said. ‘‘New Zealand is such a great country to tour – it has a lifestyle a lot like my home in Tasmania. The competition was always great on the cricket field but the food, wine and scenery are just amazing, the people are really friendly and the golf courses over there are second to none. ‘‘I am going to come over a few days early with the wife to enjoy Queenstown. I can’t wait.’’ Ponting, who retired in 2012, is obsessed with golf, sports a natural swing and has notched up a record that suggests he could hold his own amongst professionals. Ponting has beaten his good friend, three-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley, over 18 holes, he plays off an impressive +1 handicap and boasts a career-low round of 66. Alan Border captained Australia and holds the world record for the number of consecutive test appearances of 153 and for the number of tests as captain. He amassed 11,174 test runs which was a world record until it was surpassed in 2005. Stephen Fleming, who plays right-handed off a 9 handicap, often faced Ponting and cannot wait to resume their rivalry. The former skipper, who played 111 tests at an average of 40, said he was counting down the days to make his debut in the event.
Ricky Ponting, left Allan Border in 1990 and Stephen Fleming.