300 plus golfers chase spot in Holden NZ Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2005 New Zealand Open | General | 17 Jan 2005
More than 300 golfers are set to chase a place in the Holden New Zealand Open when the qualifying process begins around the country next week.
There are likely to be 10 places ultimately available in the $1.5 million Open at Gulf Harbour Country Club on 10-13 February, which for the first time will be co-sanctioned with the European and Australasian Tours.
A field of 156 will contest the 88th Holden sponsored tournament, with 65 spots allocated to each of the European and Australasian Tours. Six places are held for amateurs and up to 10 for tournament invites. This leaves approximately 10 places to come from the qualifying events.
They begin when approximately 230 players take part in four regional qualifying tournaments in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and North Shore on Friday 28 January.
The 30 best players from the regional events move to the final qualifying at Auckland Golf Club at Middlemore on Monday 7 February, where they will be joined by 30 to 35 players exempt to the final stage. They will chase an anticipated six places in the final field.
The level of interest is such that a separate final qualifying event will also be held in Australia with 40-50 professionals and elite amateurs expected to chase four spots on Wednesday 2 February at the Peninsula Country Golf Club on Melbourne’s famed sand belt.
The level of interest has enthused New Zealand Golf organisers.
“There’s an opportunity for any golfer playing off an official handicap of 2.4 or better to qualify for the Holden New Zealand Open which is one of the charms of our national Open championship,” joint Tournament Director Phil Aickin said.
“We had record fields enter the qualifying process last year and we’ve exceeded that again this year which is very encouraging. Obviously with the move to a co-sanction arrangement with Europe, there’s considerably more at stake this year.”
“To make the field through the qualifying process will be a very good achievement, and offer those players a remarkable experience in what will be arguably the strongest that has ever been assembled for a New Zealand Open.”
Aickin said the entrants for the regional qualifying are a mix of NZPGA professionals, other professionals from Fiji and Korea as well as a large number of New Zealand amateurs.
A fourth regional tournament was added in North Harbour to cope with the additional numbers. Approximately 67 players will contest the regional qualifier at North Shore GC, 87 at Manukau GC, 38 at Royal Wellington GC and 27 at Christchurch GC. Based on those numbers the projected numbers to advance to the final qualifying will be nine in North Shore, 12 at Manukau, five in Wellington and four in Christchurch.
Source – NZGA