2011 New Zealand Open to be fiercely contested

The PGA Tour of Australasia has headed across the ditch this week for the 2011 BMW New Zealand Open to be played at the Clearwater Golf Course in Christchurch.

The event is set to be a fierce contest between some well-known and up and coming Aussie and Kiwi golfers.

Always a highlight on the tour, the BMW NZ Open takes on a special meaning this year, with this being the first major sporting event Christchurch has hosted since the city was devastated by earthquakes in February.

“The PGA Tour of Australasia and all that entails; from officials and administrators through to the players themselves always love coming to New Zealand and enjoy playing at fantastic venues such as Clearwater, but this year we have been looking forward to coming back even more,” said Simon Butterly, General Manager of the Tournament Division of the PGA of Australia.

“After the terrible tragedy that occurred with the earthquakes in February it is a credit to the city and people of Christchurch that we are still able to host the Open here; it is testimony to their strength and spirit.”

The Kiwis are hoping to have their first home winner since 2003.

“I think a New Zealander has a great chance this week, I think there is about 50 of us playing and there are some quality players coming back for it like, David Smail from Japan and Josh Geary and Steve Alker from the US,” said Mahal Pearce, the last Kiwi to claim the title.

Standing in the way will be the likes of Australian golf stalwarts Craig Parry and 2011 Australian Open title contender Peter O’Malley, both previous winners of the event.

“This is an old and well respected tournament and we are going to try our best to win,” said Parry.

“Winning the New Zealand Open [in 2003] changed my life, it earned me an invite to the World Golf Championship event that I happened to win and that put me on the Tour for another few years, so I am forever in debt to the New Zealand Open,” he said.

Some of these up and coming players to watch this week and into the future include Kieran Pratt, Jordan Sherrat, Jin Jeong as well amateurs Ryan Fox, Jake Higginbottom and Ben Campbell.

In addition to receiving their share of the AU$400,000 prize money, the tournament winner will also earn a place in the 2011 JBWere Masters and exemption onto the PGA Tour of Australasia for two years.

2011 New Zealand Open Live Leaderboard

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