Josh Geary favourite in Tauranga
BY NZ Golf | 25 Sep 2013
It has been a fixture at the Tauranga Golf Club for the past seven years and has played an important role in developing New Zealand golf talent to compete on the world stage.
The eighth-annual Carrus Open on the Charles Tour begins tomorrow and will look to continue its legacy of fine champions who have gone on to bigger and better things.
New Zealand No.1 Michael Hendry, who is now a two-time NZ PGA Champion and has full playing rights on the Japan Golf Tour, won his first four-round event as a professional in Tauranga.
Tauranga pro Josh Geary, who headlines the field this week, has only played the event twice and won both times in 2006 and 2008 before playing on the web.com Tour.
Defending champion Mark Brown, who shot an incredible eight-under par 62 in the final round last year to win, is unable to play this week as he has a start in the Alfred Dunhill Links on the European Tour.
New Zealand Golf General Manager Dave Mangan, who is the Tournament Director this week, said the Carrus Open has a proven track record of producing good champions.
“The Carrus Open is one of the original events on the Charles Tour,” he said.
“It is where Mike Hendry first won a four round event as a professional, spring boarding what has been a successful career to date."
The field this week includes a total of seven former Charles Tour winners in Geary, Fraser Wilkin, Troy Ropiha, Mark Purser, Doug Holloway, Nick Gillespie and Joshua Carmichael in the $40,000, 72-hole stroke play event.
New Plymouth professional Grant Moorhead, who won at Manawatu, is a late withdrawal from the event after suffering a shoulder injury.
Also in the field are former Japan Tour pro Richard Lee, who shot a 59 at Tauranga in 2010, to be the only Kiwi to have shot golf’s magical number, and Luke Toomey, who was runner-up at the LawnMaster Classic.
Mangan regarded Geary as the favourite to win the tournament for a third time.
“It would be very hard to go past Geary with his proven track record at Tauranga,” he said.
Mangan said that missing the likes of Brown, Hendry and Fox in 2013 is testament that The Charles Tour is working as a stepping stone.
“While we would love the likes of Ryan and Michael to be playing here the fact they are playing in bigger events on the Japanese and Asian Tours proves that The Charles Tour is working as a true pathway to professional success.”