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THURSDAY 28th FEBRUARY -- SUNDAY 3rd MARCH
New Zealand Golfers Returning Home
Photo: Stacy Squires/FAIRFAX NZ
PRO-AM: Michael Hendry is returning to defend
''Steve Alker has made a huge
commitment by flying all the
way home for this event, and
proves that our growing
reputation for providing a
fantastic week of golf and
hospitality is starting to reap
dividends.'' --- Tournament
Director Michael Glading.
Ahome grown event just wouldn't be the
same without the presence of players
from that country.
And this year, one of the strongest
contingents of Kiwi professionals in recent
history will line up at the NZPGA
Championship in Queenstown February 28 to
The majority of the country's best players will
tee off at The Hills for the PGA Tour of
Australasia tournament, raising hopes of
another homegrown champion in 2013.
Michael Hendry is returning to defend his
title, after becoming the first winner of the
event under the new celebrity Pro-Am format
Hendry had a fantastic year in 2012, going on
to win another three titles after his victory in
Queenstown as well as racking up a number
of top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour of
Australasia and the OneAsia tour. He also
secured his card on the lucrative 2013 Japan
Tour after a top 30 finish at qualifying school.
Another three former champions from New
Zealand will join Hendry in the field.
The 2009 winner Steven Alker is back after
missing the event last year. Alker finished
2012 in fine form with a top five finish at the
Chile Classic on the Web.com Tour. Earlier in
the year, he showed just how good he really
is with a top 20 finish at The Open
Championship at Royal Lytham and St
The 1984 champion Greg Turner is also back
for a crack at the title. Turner surprised
everyone when he dusted off his clubs after
almost a decade in retirement to play the
Harewood Open last year. He also lined up in
the NZ Open at Clearwater and defied all the
odds to make the cut and play all four
rounds, 10 years after he last contested the
The other former winner, Simon Owen, who is
best remembered for his duel with Jack
Nicklaus in the 1978 British Open (where he
finished runner-up), makes a rare re-
appearance in a major professional event,
which marks the centenary of the New
The 2012 NZPGA runner-up, and former
European Tour winner Mark Brown, who
finished a creditable fifth on the PGA Tour or
Australasia Order of Merit, will be looking to
go one better this year.
Other top touring Kiwis who will play the
NZPGA this year include David Smail, Ryan
Fox, Gareth Paddison, Josh Geary, Brad
Shilton and Richard Lee, as well as Perth-
based Michael Long.
Throw in Phil Tataurangi and Australian Peter
Fowler, who many deem to be an honorary
Kiwi having lived in Auckland for two decades,
and there is reason to be optimistic of a
winner from New Zealand.
It's a ringing endorsement of the organising
committee's decision to adopt the celebrity
Pro-Am format last year. Tournament Director
Michael Glading has no doubt it has played a
key role in luring the country's top talent
''The tournament has a unique feel to it, and
is clearly one that the majority of pros enjoy.
The majesty of Queenstown, and The Hills in
particular is a strong draw card, and we are
really delighted to have all of our top players
other than Campbell and Lee (both of whom
are committed elsewhere) come and join us
''Steve Alker has made a huge commitment
by flying all the way home for this event, and
proves that our growing reputation for
providing a fantastic week of golf and
hospitality is starting to reap dividends.''
- Supplied by Heather Kidd
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