01 Mar 2023 | Professional golf |
How to follow the NZ Open
by Dane Heverin
The ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia travels across the Tasman for the first time since 2019 for the 102nd NZ Open Presented by Sky Sport at the breathtaking Millbrook Resort in Queenstown from Thursday.
A strong field has been confirmed for the event which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and is played in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour for a $NZ 1.65 million prize pool.
New Zealand’s national open has long been one of the players’ favourite stops on tour and it is also a crucial one in the race for the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit with 760 points awarded to the champion, while the runner-up receives 428 points and there are 284 points for third.
This allocation of points is on par with the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, and it means there is a massive opportunity for players to push towards gaining one of the three DP World Tour cards up for grabs at season’s end.
Order of Merit leader David Micheluzzi sits on 979.95 points, and he will be determined to all but lock away a European opportunity with a third win of the season this week.
Vic PGA champion Andrew Martin (652.13 points) and Gippsland Super 6 winner Tom Power Horan (483.15) will be eager to do the same, while the likes of WA Open champion Deyen Lawson (446.46), TPS Hunter Valley winner Brett Coletta (408.76) and Vic Open champion and 2017 NZ Open champion Michael Hendry (401.93) have the chance to snatch one of the top three spots.
Two-time champion Brad Kennedy is back to defend the title he won in 2020 after the Japan Golf Tour regular has been absent from the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia schedule for the first two months of 2023.
The 48-year-old is setting himself to have a crack at the senior ranks after he turns 50 next June and he is looking to New Zealand’s own Steven Alker for inspiration.Alker is the reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion on the PGA Tour Champions, he has earned nearly $US 3.5 million more as a senior than he did on the Korn Ferry Tour, and he is tipped to receive a very warm reception from his home crowd this week.
DP World Tour regular Jason Scrivener will also tee it up this week, while recent Korn Ferry Tour winner at the Astara Golf Championship Rhein Gibson is another accomplished player to watch out for.
Other past champions in the field include Zach Murray (2019), Daniel Nisbet (2018), Matthew Griffin (2016), Jordan Zunic (2015) and Dimitrios Papadatos (2014).
The tournament will be broadcast on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and Sky Sport NZ starting from 1pm on Thursday and Friday, and 12pm on Saturday and Sunday AEDT.
How to follow: For live scoring and the latest news visit pga.org.au. Exclusive content and tournament updates will also be posted regularly on the PGA of Australia’s social media channels.
Official hashtag: #NZOpen
How to watch: Catch the action from every round from Thursday to Sunday, broadcast live on Foxtel (Channel 503), Kayo Sports and Sky Sport NZ.
TV Times (AEDT):
Thursday 2 March LIVE 1pm – 5pm on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports
Friday 3 March LIVE 1pm – 5pm on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports
Saturday 4 March LIVE 12pm – 3pm on Fox Sports; LIVE 12pm – 4pm on Kayo Sports
Sunday 5 March LIVE 12pm – 4pm on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports
Players to watch:
Brad Kennedy: Defending champion and two-time NZ Open winner
David Micheluzzi: Order of Merit leader, TPS Sydney winner, WA PGA champion
Rhein Gibson: Two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner
Jason Scrivener: DP World Tour regular
Brett Coletta: TPS Hunter Valley winner
Steven Alker: Reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion on the PGA Tour Champions
Michael Hendry: Vic Open champion and 2017 NZ Open champion
Kazuma Kobori (a): 21-year-old Australian Amateur champion from New Zealand
The New Zealand Open is co-sanctioned by the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour.
The tournament will include a field of up to 156 amateurs and 156 professionals playing alongside one another. The professional golfers will compete for the New Zealand Open title whilst simultaneously a pairing of one professional and one amateur will play a best-ball format for the New Zealand Open Pro-Am Championship.
The field will be split across two courses at Millbrook Resort for the first round of competition with all players alternating to the other course for the second round.
After the second round the top 60 professionals plus ties will graduate to the final two rounds. The top 40 pairings from the pro-am move into round three, and the top 10 pro-am teams will compete in the final round on Sunday.
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