The NZPGA Championship has a rich and historic background with a long stint in Christchurch where we saw the likes of Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner and many other in their formative years on tour.
The 2018 championship will again be hosted by Manawatu GC.
Since then following a
short hiatus with all the earthquake issues in Christchurch it reemerged in Auckland where it was held at Remuera Golf Club for two years. The event was held in a time where it faced serious alternate sport event competitions and whilst the NZPGA was in itself successful the crowds were not to ATEED and the major sponsor liking and they withdrew their sponsorship.
The NZPGA Board then was faced with some interesting decisions. Putting on a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Golf event is enormously expensive. They can cost millions and if not carefully managed and properly funded results could be dire for the event owners. It is also enormously complicated with many stakeholders both domestically and international.
So, a brave call was made to invite strategic regional clubs the opportunity to host the NZPGA Championship and in February 2017 Manawatu Golf Club did just that.
They took on the challenge with only a few months to organise and host a tier 2 event. The Board of the Day, and the GM at the time Michael Williams, now at Mount Manganui Golf Club, did just that.
The result was a fantastic event. Well attended with large local and visitor crowds with quality golf being on show. So, the only real question. What about 2018?
It is now set into concrete that the Manawatu Golf Club will host the 2018 Horizon Golf NZPGA Championship, and it will be played from 22-25 February on its Hokowhitu course in Palmerston North. The tournament will be sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and will again carry prize money of NZD$125,000.
“The 2017 Horizon Golf NZPGA Championship was an overwhelming success, the players loved the hospitality shown by the Palmerston North community and the Hokowhitu course was presented in immaculate condition,” said PGA of New Zealand General Manager Dominic Sainsbury.
“The tournament exceeded all our expectations and we have been doing everything we can to get the event back to the region for another year.
“With longer lead in time to the 2018 Championship, we are very excited we can make next year's event even bigger.”
Dominic Sainsbury highlights the fact that the 2018 NZPGA Championship would again take place the week before the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open in Queenstown which will benefit the quality of the playing field and will
once again provide the opportunity to attract a strong field of professional golfers from Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the USA.
Manawatu Golf Club General Manager, Warren Collett endorsed these comments. “We are delighted to host this prestigious event again and build on the success from 2017.
“This will be a first for me to be involved in such a historical tournament and being able to stamp my mark on the event.
“The support from the membership in 2017 was huge and the expectation is they will all come on board again in the many voluntary roles associated with running an event like this.
“The club was very grateful for the ongoing support of the Horizon Golf Trust who has indicated they will be on board and they are backed up by the many supporting local sponsors. We look forward to welcoming a top class field to Hokowhitu next February.”
The Manawatu Golf Club was founded in 1895 at Hokowhitu, which continues to be its current location. Previous NZPGA winners on the course have been Arthur Ham (1922), Fred Rutter (1930), Andy Shaw (1946) Kel Nagle (1957) and Jarryd Felton (2017).
The 2018 Horizon Golf NZPGA Championship winner will join a long list of famous names on the McDougall Cup, first played for in 1920 when it was won by Joe Kirkwood.
The current holder is Jarryd Felton of Australia who won in a three man play off over Victorian Josh Younger and local Ben Campbell.
The leading New Zealand player in the Championship will receive the Sir Bob Charles Trophy, which was initiated in 2015 and won by Josh Geary. Geary won it again in 2016 and Ben Campbell won the title in 2017.
2017 Winners Ben Campbell and Jarryd Felton →