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New Zealand Open: Geary gets over his injury concerns

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Tuesday February 25, 2014

New Zealand Open: Geary gets over his injury concerns

Tauranga professional Josh Geary is over his injury worries and is feeling fresh ahead of the New Zealand Open Championship in Queenstown.

The 28-year-old, who has finished as the leading Kiwi in four of the past five championships, is looking forward to playing in another New Zealand Open not far from where he was born.

He opted out of playing the Victorian Open on the PGA Tour of Australasia last week to allow his ankle more time to heal and prepare for “his favourite week of the year”.

Geary said his ankle injury originated with his pelvis being out of line.

“It was inside the left ankle and I had some pretty sharp pains for a while there,” he said.

“I was really struggling to walk on it. It has all been squared and I feel like I am ready to go.” 

The talented Kiwi started the year in ominous form when he recorded a win and two third place finishes on the local pro-am circuit.

Geary, who finished tied third at the NZ PGA Championship in 2013, loves playing in Central Otago.

“I just love the place, the whole persona, Queenstown, it’s a good fun week for most of the players, the scenery and it brings out the best in me.”

The former Web.com Tour player said all the Kiwis in the field would naturally love to end the 11 year drought of a home champion in the event.

“We don’t really talk about it but we’re trying to break the drought. It would be nice to break the chain this year.”

The three-time winner on The Charles Tour believed the pro-am format, which is introduced to the New Zealand Open for the first time in 2014, should make it more of a relaxed event.

He said it “worked both ways” to lighten the mood of the tournament and will be looking to interact as much as possible with his playing partners.

“I have a good caddy. I always help them look for balls, I don’t mind it. If they look for my balls I think we should look for their ball!”

Geary was pleased to have more time in the build-up to this week as the two-course format required more preparation. But he was feeling comfortable and rated the tournament as a highlight of the year.

“It’s probably my favourite week of the year. I’ve been close a few times but hopefully can get one step further and get it done.”

Meanwhile, the 2001 New Zealand Open champion David Smail, who only returned to practice two weeks ago, has low expectations on his return to Queenstown.

He has “never played Millbrook before in my life” but was looking forward to the tournament.

“It’s good to have a place like this to play golf in and introduce the world to Queenstown,” he said.

“I feel very fresh, a bit underdone actually. Hopefully I can find some form in the next couple of days.”

Smail said it was great to see the New Zealand Open form a partnership with the Japan Golf Tour where he has played for the past 16 years consecutively.

“It is great to see guys over here, there are 15 guys this year and hopefully we can build on that in years to come.”

Smail knows what it is like to hold aloft the Brodie Breeze Trophy and said it would be great to have a New Zealand Open winner in 2014.

“Josh has as good a chance as anyone. I haven’t had too much luck here [at The Hills] but will hopefully change that around. The National Open has always been one to strike for. It was my first win as a pro.”

The 94th New Zealand Open begins on Thursday at The Hills and Millbrook.

ENDS

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