Paul Lawrie lines up for Holden New Zealand Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2005 New Zealand Open | General | 27 Jan 2005
British Open winner Paul Lawrie and world top-50 player Joakim Haeggman are the latest European stars to confirm for next month’s Holden New Zealand Open.
Lawrie (Scotland), the 1999 Open champion, and Haeggman (Sweden), the world No 49 at the end of 2004, will contest the 88th Holden New Zealand Open at Gulf Harbour, north of Auckland on 10-13 February.
The pair will both compete in next week’s Heineken Classic in Melbourne, and their entry follows the weekend news that outstanding Australian player Craig Parry, the 2002 champion, has confirmed his entry.
“It is definitely shaping up as the strongest field ever for the Holden New Zealand Open,” Tournament Director Phil Aickin said. “We have had great quality at the top of our field over the years, but the co-sanction with the Australasian and European Tours means there’s just so much depth and so many players of world class.”
Lawrie, 36, is the second Major winner in the field, along with 1990 US PGA champion Wayne Grady. The Englishman won the 128th British Open at Carnoustie in 1999 when he came from10 shots behind with a final round 67 to grab a place in a three way playoff with Frenchman Jean Van de Velde and the 1997 Open champion Justin Leonard.
Lawrie, who comes from nearby Aberdeen, birdied the final two holes of a four-hole playoff to win.
He also won again in Scotland two years later in the inaugural Dunhill Links Championship, one of five victories to his credit on the European Tour. His last win was the Wales Open in 2002.
His exploits in 1999 led to selection in the Ryder Cup at Brookline where he hit the opening tee shot and scored three wins and a half.
It will be his first visit to Gulf Harbour, for while he represented Scotland four times in the World Cup of Golf, he missed the 1998 clash at the New Zealand course.
Haeggman started last year on a medical exemption after missing seven months in 2003 with a broken ankle sustained playing ice hockey.
The highlight was a win in the Qatar Masters last year on the way to 18th spot on the European Tour rankings that included third placings in the TPC of Europe and Volvo PGA in an outstanding season.
He became the first Swede to play in the Ryder Cup in 1993 but an accident (that forced him out of the game for nearly two years) deprived him of a recall although he was part of the management team for the 2002 Europe victory at The Belfry.
A career highlight was scoring 27 for nine holes in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews in 1997, while the popular Swede specialises in trick shots in golf clinics.
The final 65 players from European Tour will be confirmed this weekend, following the naming of the 65 players from the Australasian Tour last weekend. Two players who entered last month, Paul McGinley and David Howell, have withdrawn from both the Heineken Classic in Melbourne next week and the Holden New Zealand Open. McGinley is injured and Howell played in South Africa.
Source – NZGA