Twenty-five golfers last week advanced to the final stage of
qualifying for the New Zealand Open championship being held
near Arrowtown at the end of the month.
The tier-one event on the PGA Tour of Australasia - expected
to be the biggest tournament staged in New Zealand for many
years - will be held at The Hills and Millbrook Resort from
February 27 to March 2, with a purse of $900,000.
Pre-qualifying events were held across New Zealand last
Tuesday at the Royal Auckland Golf Club (Middlemore),
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, Christchurch Golf Club and
Chisholm Park Golf Club, in Dunedin.
Twelve golfers from Royal Auckland advanced, with Bay of
Plenty golfer Bailey Smith, who recently won a junior title
in Australia, the winner of the event with a 1-under par 71
in the hard and fast conditions.
Waikato representative Denzel Ieremia and Bay of Plenty
representative Charlie Hillier, who recently won the North
Island Under-19 Championship, were among the other qualifiers
Four players finished on 4-over par 76, and Joshua Leitch
birdied the first play-off hole to secure the 12th and final
place from Royal Auckland.
Wellington No 1 Marc Jennings, who was superb for his
province in the Toro NZ Men's Interprovincial at the North
Shore Golf Club, won the event at Paraparaumu Beach when he
carded a 2-under par 70.
Manawatu players Hayden Ring and Lachie McDonald also
advanced with rounds of 73 and 74 respectively. At the
Christchurch Golf Club, seven golfers advanced to the final
qualifiers in the warm and windy conditions.
Former New Zealand representative Jordan Bakermans won the
event on his home course when he carded a 2-under par 70.
He was joined by six others, with four golfers - Jun Hyeong
Seok (South Korea), Carl Brooking (P), Jordan Green
(Ashburton), Byung Chae Ryu (South Korea) - sneaking in by
one shot when they finished on even par 72. At Chisholm Park,
three players - Jeremy Hall (67), Michael Smith (69) and
Brendan Hodgson (69) - advanced.
The final stage of qualifying will be held at the Omaha Beach
Golf Club and Cromwell Golf Club on February 24 and February
A total of 10 spaces in the final New Zealand Open field will
be played for at the final qualifying tournaments.