When the New Zealand Open Championship tees off in Queenstown this March, it will be for the 100th time as the tournament celebrates a century of great golf.
Over 150 players from New Zealand and around the world will take part in the co-sanctioned event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour.
The two most successful golfers to come out of Korea – KJ Choi and YE Yang – have confirmed they will both play in the championship. Both have played in New Zealand before as young professionals.
KJ Choi is one of the top 25 players on the PGA Tour’s all-time money-list with earnings of over NZ$50 million in prize-money. The hugely popular Korean has 20 professional victories worldwide to his credit, winning eight times on the PGA Tour and taking the trophy at the prestigious Players’ Championship.
YE Yang is the first Asia-born player to win a Major and the 47-year-old proved he is far from a spent force in the game with an outstanding 2018 season on the Japan Golf Tour.
“New Zealand was important for me when I was starting in golf. I spent almost four years here playing and practising in Auckland, Christchurch and Taupo especially,” says Yang.
“Last year gave me the chance to return and play in Queenstown which is beautiful, so I was keen to return again and I would like to play well especially in the 100th New Zealand Open – it would be a special honour.”
They will be joined by fellow major winners Australian legend Geoff Ogilvy and Kiwi Michael Campbell who will be coming out of retirement to play.
This year the 72-hole tournament will be hosted alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills, with the final two rounds being played at the latter. Both courses are set in incredible landscapes with the backdrop of the Southern Alps threatening to draw spectators’ attention away from the great golf being played.
The 100th New Zealand Open programme will launch with a unique curtain-raiser, a Par 3 event that will take place on the newly-built course ‘The Farm’ at The Hills. The Par 3 will take place on the eve of the tournament (27 February), and this will be the first time anyone other than a few Hills members have played on Sir Michael Hill’s new private course.
About the 100th New Zealand Open
- The tournament is one of New Zealand’s leading sporting events with a long and prestigious history
- The tournament was founded in 1907 and will be played for the 100th time in 2019
- The tournament is a co-sanctioned event on the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour schedules
- The tournament also has a partnership agreement with the Japan Golf Tour
- A professional field of 152 players will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills before the second round cut of 60 + ties
- The final 2 rounds will be played at The Hills
- The New Zealand Open Champion will be the leading player after 72 holes of stroke play
- The tournament also hosts 152 amateur players, each partnering with a Professional in a two-man best-ball event, competing for the NZ Pro-Am Championship.
The Hills, Queenstown
The Hills is a magnificent golf course surrounded by snow-capped mountains, providing not only a dramatic landscape but a challenge to all golfers.
Co-host of the New Zealand Open, the venue is as much a destination for spectators as competitors - and has earned a reputation endorsed by the greats of golf including New Zealand’s own golfing hero, Sir Bob Charles.
On a former deer farm near Arrowtown, Queenstown, The Hills is home to an incredible array of flora including native brown top grasses and wild mountain tussocks. Sculptures crafted by New Zealand artists compliment this austere natural beauty with its lakes, waterways and wetland areas.
Millbrook Resort, Queenstown
Millbrook’s 27-hole championship golf course is home to the annual New Zealand Open which it co-hosts with neighbouring golf course The Hills.
On the edge of the tree-lined historic settlement of Arrowtown, and a short drive from the year-round resort playground of Queenstown, Millbrook Resort is a former wheat farm that now seamlessly combines a luxury holiday experience with a championship golf course and contemporary facilities that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.
The resort has been crafted into an exquisite natural landscape that has seen Millbrook scoop a steady stream of top awards from around the world.
Designed by New Zealand golfing legend Sir Bob Charles and re-imagined in 2010 by former New Zealand professional golfer and two-time New Zealand Open winner Greg Turner, Millbrook’s three courses make full use of the diverse terrain gifted by Mother Nature and have names inspired by the places that surround them.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Renowned as New Zealand's year-round tourist resort and 'Adventure Capital', Queenstown attracts more than three million visitors a year, who come for everything from world-class skiing and snowboarding to unique thrills in the water, the air and on land, or the relaxed pace of the wine trail in Gibbston.
With about 220 different activities and attractions on offer, there’s never a shortage of options for visitors to Queenstown, whether after mild or wild, during all four seasons – you could spend the morning walking amongst the mountains, the afternoon exploring forest trails by bike and the evening dining al fresco at the lakeside, soaking up the ever-unfolding cosmopolitan atmosphere.