Campbell in fine form in injury return

Ben Campbell. Photo: Getty Images
Ben Campbell. Photo: Getty Images
Queenstown professional Ben Campbell made a fine return to competitive golf at last weekend’s Charles Tour event, the Gulf Harbour Country Club Open, finishing tied for fourth.

But it could have been so much better after leading going into the final round.

For Campbell it has been a long road to recovery from a hip operation and repair to a tear in a disc in his back in September 2019.

It was a happy Campbell who teed it up again after 18 months in dry dock.

After his first two rounds of 69 he was close to the leaders.

But then a brilliant third round 64 on Saturday, which featured seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey, outshone Ryan Fox’s 66 and left him in the lead one ahead of Fox.

It was always going to be a tall order to beat Fox, a seasoned and successful European Tour player.

Three bogeys in the first seven holes on the final day derailed Campbell’s challenge, while Fox reeled off a birdie blitz to shoot 62 and street the field for a seven-shot win. Campbell fought back well with three birdies and a bogey.

While naturally disappointed Campbell was upbeat.

"It is nice to be back after so long and still know I can compete. The last day was disappointing but I felt like I played a lot better than I scored," he said.

He bogeyed two par-5s despite two good shots.

"My chipping let me down on those holes so I need to do some work on the short game. Chipping is a bit rusty after the long break."

Campbell will stay in the North Island for the next Charles Tour event this weekend.

" I’m looking forward to teeing it up at the Muriwai Open then I will head home for a break. I will go back north for the Wairakei ProAm ($40,000) on the 20th of April and then the following week the big one the NZPGA ($100,000) at Te Puke.

Campbell will be looking to repeat his win in this event the last time it was played.

- By Neville Idour

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