NZ Open tees off for 100th time

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There are less than 100 days un­til the 100th New Zealand Open tees off on Fe­bru­ary 28 at Mill­brook Re­sort and The Hills in Queen­stown.

The New Zealand Open has at­tracted elite, in­ter­na­tional golf pro­fes­sion­als to com­pete in this world-class tour­na­ment for many years.

Cre­at­ing a spring­board for lo­cal tal­ent to ad­vance their ca­reers, this is a sport where New Zealand con­sis­tently punches above its weight, pro­duc­ing many world-class play­ers.

Para­pa­raumu Beach Golf Club has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the 100-tour­na­ment his­tory of the New Zealand Open, which ranks as one of New Zealand’s old­est sport­ing events.

“Golf be­gan on Para­pa­raumu Beach in the 1930s and from the 1950s on­wards the golf course was re­garded as world-class,” said tour­na­ment di­rec­tor Michael Glad­ing, whose fa­ther won the ti­tle in 1946 and 1947.

“From its first open in 1959 to a fur­ther 11 times, Para­pa­raumu has hosted this event more than any other course in the coun­try.

“From the late 1980s to early 2000s Para­pa­raumu held the New Zealand Open al­most un­in­ter­rupted and was cho­sen to host the world’s reign­ing num­ber one, Tiger Woods, in 2002.

“Ka¯ piti loves its golf and that’s re­flected in the 100-tour­na­ment his­tory.

“It’s also one of the few lo­ca­tions where his­tor­i­cal pho­tos of the open still ex­ist.”

New Zealand pro­fes­sion­als com­pet­ing in 2019 in­clude Ryan Fox, Steve Alker, Tim Wilkin­son, Ben Camp­bell, as well as former champions Mike Hendry (2017), David Smail (2001) and Michael Long (1996).

These play­ers, along with other golf­ing dig­ni­taries, will cel­e­brate this mile­stone and re­flect on the great com­pe­ti­tion, ca­reers, play­ers and shots over the course of its his­tory since the first open in 1907.

They will share their sto­ries, trivia and mem­o­ries in the buildup to a pro­gramme of events along­side this year’s open to mark the oc­ca­sion.

This year’s in­ter­na­tional field in­cludes many past champions, in­clud­ing last year’s win­ner Daniel Nis­bet, Matt Grif­fin (2016), Jor­dan Zu­nic (2015) and Dimi Pa­padatos (2014).

At least 20 pro­fes­sion­als from the Japan Tour and 30 from the Asian Tour will com­pete, guar­an­tee­ing plenty of world­class com­pe­ti­tion to entertain crowds.

While only seven pro­fes­sion­als teed off in 1907, 152 pro­fes­sional golfers will com­pete for the 2019 ti­tle and $1.3 mil­lion prize pool.

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, a pair­ing of one pro­fes­sional and one ama­teur will play a best-ball for­mat for the New Zealand ProAm Cham­pi­onship.

A Tier One event co­sanc­tioned by the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia and the Asian Tour, and in part­ner­ship with the Japan Golf Tour, the New Zealand Open’s Pro-Am for­mat makes the New Zealand Open unique in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

With less than 100 days be­fore the open, in­ter­est is hot­ting up.

Ac­cord­ing to New Zealand golf­ing leg­end Sir Bob Charles, “One hun­dred tour­na­ments of the iconic New Zealand Open is some­thing all Ki­wis should feel proud of”.

“It is a phe­nom­e­nal achieve­ment for New Zealand sport and some­thing that de­serves cel­e­brat­ing.”


Peter Thom­son, left, Bob Tuohy and Kel Na­gle be­fore the New Zealand Open at Para­pa­raumu Beach Golf Club in 1959.

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