New Zealand’s PGA Tour professional Tim Wilkinson will return home for the first time in over a decade to play in the 99th ISPS Handa New Zealand Open in Queenstown in March.

He will be joined by fellow US-based professional Steven Alker as the first players to confirm their entries to the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open.

This is also the opening day of ticket sales for the Millbrook Resort and The Hills event to be played from 1-4 of March 2018.

Wilkinson has confirmed he will also return to his hometown of Palmerston North to play in the NZPGA Championship from 22-25 February at Manawatu Golf Club, where he learnt his craft.

Both players will ply their trade on the Web.Com Tour in 2018, after missing PGA Tour status in their final qualifying opportunities.

“I am excited to be able to play in New Zealand. For around 10 years of my golfing prime I’ve not been able to because of my schedule,” said Wilkinson.

Wilkinson, 39, who has won nearly NZ$7 million in his career, is excited by the format, with paying amateurs included alongside professionals.

“I play quite well in this format and I enjoy getting to know people from different walks of life. You just have to chill out and enjoy a more relaxed approach,” said Wilkinson, who has enjoyed three top-10 finishes in the AT&T Championship at Pebble Beach, on which the Queenstown event is based.

“Obviously I am disappointed not to be playing the PGA Tour in 2018 but I still feel some of my best golf is ahead of me. If I can get into tournaments in Australia as well it may open some doors in other events or to play a different Tour. I am definitely more open to it.”

He is also excited about heading back to Palmerston North to a course where he learned the game, and a club that has also produced PGA Tour winners Grant Waite and Craig Perks who both remain close friends.

“I have won quality amateur tournaments there and it would be nice if I can repeat the scores I shot back then.

“It is amazing for such a small town and a small golf club to produce three players on the PGA Tour, which is something you don’t see in the US.”


Tickets for the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open go on sale from Wednesday 22 November through www.nzopen.co.nz




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