The New Zealand Open is a Tier 1 tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
The tournament runs two concurrent competitions resulting in a blended field of professionals and amateurs players. Alongside the traditional 72-stroke Championship, a Pro-Am competition is played in a best ball format with each professional paired with an amateur.
A highly competitive professional field will contest for the silverware. New Zealand No. 1 Michael Hendry is joined by a number of compatriots vying for the title including David Smail and Mark Brown. Colourful Rocco Mediate, an American player from the US Champions Tour, comes to Queenstown on-form after winning his two Champions Tour events in 2013. Defending champion Jake Higginbottom joins fellow Australia Matt Griffin who led the OneAsia Tour money list in 2013, was third in 2012 and has been a two time winner on that Tour. Eleven professionals competing at the New Zealand Open this year come from the Japan Golf Tour, including World No. 240 Toshinori Muto who recorded three top-five finishes in Japan in 2013 and finished 32nd on the money-list in 2013. He will be joined by Yuki Kono (33rd on the money list and Winner of Challenge Tour in 2012), Sushi Ishigaki (49) and Hiroshi Iwata (59) as the leading players coming to NZ from the 2013 Japan Tour money list.
This year’s amateur field includes a host of local and international celebrities including Masterchef host Josh Emett, Amazing Race presenter Phil Keoghan and US dancer Cris Judd. Former sporting legends will also compete including trans-Tasman cricketing rivals Ricky Ponting, Allan Border and Stephen Fleming, All Black greats Jeff Wilson and Justin Marshall, and dual international Australian rugby union and league player Wendell Sailor.
Following two rounds of play at both courses, the top 60 + ties will make the New Zealand Open cut. The top 30 + ties Pro-Am teams will make the Pro-Am cut. The third and fourth rounds are played at The Hills. Following the third round, an additional Pro-Am cut will be made with the leading 10 pro-am teams progressing to the final round.
The 19th Hole provides an outdoor setting for the enjoyment of good food, wine and music. A highlight of the event promises to be the Open Sounds concert with Anika Moa. This occurs on the Saturday of the tournament at the 19th Hole with local artist Holly Arrowsmith and the Sweet Mix Kids also performing onstage during the day.
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