Golf: Former No 9s to face off

Justin Marshall.
Justin Marshall.
It will be the battle of the halfbacks at the New Zealand PGA Championship in Arrowtown next year.

Former All Black halfback Justin Marshall is back at the event after recording a top 10 finish in the pro-am at the inaugural contest in April this year.

Marshall teamed with professional Brendan Jones to finish high up in the 62-strong field.

Also at the PGA last year was former Wallabies halfback and captain Nick Farr-Jones.

Farr-Jones will return for another attempt at the event, which takes place at the end of February.

But the Australian challenge will not fall solely on the shoulders of Farr-Jones. Former Wallabies and Brumbies captain George Gregan has agreed to compete in the event.

Gregan and Marshall clashed many times during their careers as opposing halfbacks for their respective sides. But their rivalry stayed on the pitch, as they were firm friends off the field.

George Gregan.
George Gregan.
Marshall, who has a house in Queenstown, plays off a handicap of about 10, while Gregan, who is working with the Brumbies in a coaching role, hits off a handicap of six.

Marshall had no hesitation accepting an invitation back to The Hills after thoroughly enjoying the experience earlier this year.

''Without a shadow of a doubt, it's one of the greatest things I've done in my life,'' he said.

''Playing with Brendan was a tremendous experience. I felt privileged to be on the course with him and would love to be teamed up with him again.''

Farr-Jones, a lawyer from Sydney, has been a frequent visitor to Queenstown, and plays off a handicap of about 14.

Other sporting celebrities confirmed to play in the tournament include former cricketers Sir Ian Botham, Tony Greig and Mark Richardson.

Women's world amateur No 1 Lydia Ko has also been confirmed as a starter.