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New Zealand Open: Tournament Invites Named For Queenstown

New Zealand Open: Tournament Invites Named For Queenstown

Three Kiwi professionals – Brad Shilton, Ben Campbell and Mathew Perry – have been given tournament invites to the New Zealand Open Championship in Queenstown.


The National Open which will be staged at The Hills and Millbrook for the first time from February 27 – March 2 has a purse of $900,000 and is expected to be the biggest tournament staged in this country for many years.

Shilton, Campbell and Perry are all worthy recipients having excelled as amateurs when they represented New Zealand and are promising professionals.


Auckland-based Shilton, who represented NZ at the Eisenhower World Team’s Championship, enjoyed his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour of Australasia in 2012 when he won the South Pacific Golf Open Championship in Noumea.


The member of the Institute of Golf on Auckland’s North Shore, who look after New Zealand No.1 Michael Hendry and had World No.4 Lydia Ko in their stable of players for many years, is excited to return to The Hills.


“It is a bit of a strange thing really to be missing out on events after the last couple of years,” said Shilton.

“To get an invite, it is pretty awesome really. I was pretty confident but you never know who else is going to be asking and where you sit in the pecking order of things. It is just good to be named as one of the three.”


Shilton, who has status in around six or seven OneAsia Tour events in 2014, said that a big week at the New Zealand Open could be potentially career changing.


“I don’t have any status in Aussie this year so I need to take every start that I can get. So this is a massive opportunity for me. A win down there in Queenstown would be huge for my career going forward on the Aussie Tour but also the link with Japan is great as well. Hopefully I make something of the chances I have this year to have somewhere to play next year.”


The Auckland-based pro said the NZ Open has its x-factor back with the return to Queenstown.


“I love it. It is an awesome place. It was pretty gutting to know that I wouldn’t be getting a start so I am pretty thankful and really looking forward to it.”

Perry represented New Zealand at the 2012 Eisenhower in Turkey alongside Campbell and Vaughan McCall and has already enjoyed some success early in his pro career.


The 26-year-old from the Hamilton Golf Club, who is based in Melbourne, fired a seven under-par 66 to win a Pro-Am tournament in Victoria in 2013.


“It means a lot to have secured a start in this year’s NZ Open,” said Perry who said he is excited about this year’s format and venue.


“I've always enjoyed my time in Arrowtown and have some great memories from last year’s NZPGA.

“The Hills is one of my favourite layouts in NZ. I've been lucky enough to play the course a number of times and enjoy the challenge it presents. It's been some time since I’ve played Millbrook, I know they have been working hard
on their new holes and I'm excited to see how they shape up for the NZ Open.”


Like Shilton, Perry said a good week in the New Zealand Open would be potentially career-changing.


“With the NZ Open being on the PGA Tour of Australasia, and the partnership it has with the Japanese Tour, it provides a rare opportunity to gain status on two tours,” he said.

“My focus however is on putting in some good work in Melbourne with my coaches before I return to play on home soil again for my third New Zealand Open.”


Campbell was one of the leading players in the world during his amateur career.


The Masterton golfer, who defeated Hendry to win the Carrus Open as an amateur on The Charles Tour, was ranked as No.6 in the world at his highest point and he finished fourth at the 2010 Eisenhower in Argentina.


The 22-year-old IMG professional has struggled to secure a full playing card on any major tours around the world early in his career and is grateful for this start in Queenstown.


Tournament invites have also been given to the resident professionals at The Hills and Millbrook Craig Palmer and Ben Gallie respectively.


The final places in the field have been allocated to other non-exempt players who finished in the top 10 in the PGA of New Zealand Order of Merit from 2013.


These players include Richard Lee, Daniel Pearce, Jarred Pender, Grant Moorhead, Fraser Wilkin, Troy Ropiha, Dominic Barson and Doug Holloway.


Holloway, who won on The Charles Tour yesterday in Palmerston North for the first time in six years, said he is looking forward to Queenstown in some good form.


“You never take playing in the New Zealand Open for granted,” said the 30-year-old.


“It is nice to be heading to Queenstown with a win under my belt already in 2014 and some confidence.”


Meanwhile Lee, who has qualified for the Japan Tour pro, finished as the second Kiwi at the BMW NZ Open of 2012 at Clearwater behind Mark Brown.


Lee mixed five birdies with two bogeys in his three-under 69 which left him alone in fifth place at the last staging of the National Open.


A host of quality celebrity amateurs will join the world-class field at the New Zealand Open in Central Otago.


Three of the greatest Test Captains in cricket history in Ricky Ponting, Allan Border and Stephen Fleming will be joined by World Cup winning Wallabies Captain Nick Farr-Jones, All Black greats Jeff Wilson and Justin Marshall and
former Black Cap Mark Richardson.


American celebrities Phil Keoghan, the host of The Amazing Race, and Cris Judd, an actor and choreographer, will also make their debuts in the event.


The countdown is on to the New Zealand Open with players from all over New Zealand looking forward to competing in the National Open.

ENDS

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