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Kiwi golfing icons return to home turf for NZ Open

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Jan 2024, 2:50PM
Steve Alker of New Zealand on day 3 at the 102nd New Zealand Open last year. Photo / Photosport
Steve Alker of New Zealand on day 3 at the 102nd New Zealand Open last year. Photo / Photosport

Kiwi golfing icons return to home turf for NZ Open

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Jan 2024, 2:50PM

Three of New Zealand’s finest golfers are gearing up to tee off at the 103rd edition of the New Zealand Open.

Steven Alker, Daniel Hillier and Ben Campbell, who left an indelible mark on the global golfing stage in 2023, are all set to vie for glory at Millbrook Resort from February 29 to March 3.

Alker, a seasoned pro who finished second overall in the 2023 Charles Schwab Championship standings, is back on home soil after securing two victories on the PGA Tour Champions. Having played in many New Zealand Opens since the start of his career, Alker is hoping to claim the victory that would mean the most to him, his national crown.

“The reception and support the fans gave me when I played at Millbrook last year was unreal. It was quite unexpected, and really amazing to have so much support, something I won’t forget. It’s the one tournament we all want to win. Of course, there are the Majors and the big titles internationally, but there’s something special about having your name on your national title. It’s one of my goals for 2024.”

Hillier, fresh from his maiden year on the DP World Tour, is riding high after a memorable win at the Betfred British Masters. Placing 30th on the overall DP World Tour Order of Merit for 2023, Hillier is excited to return home and take on the challenge, saying, “The New Zealand Open is always a great event in Queenstown, and I know there are lots of talented Kiwi golfers trying to get their hands on the title. Hopefully, I can peak at the right time.”

Steven Alker, Daniel Hillier and Ben Campbell have confirmed they will be teeing it up at Millbrook Resort for the 103rd New Zealand Open. Photo / Photosport
Steven Alker, Daniel Hillier and Ben Campbell have confirmed they will be teeing it up at Millbrook Resort for the 103rd New Zealand Open. Photo / Photosport

Adding to the star-studded lineup is Campbell, who clinched his maiden Asian Tour victory at the Hong Kong Open. Campbell’s victory late last year, where he edged out former world number one Cam Smith, has set the stage for a thrilling return to his hometown tournament.

Campbell said, “To have my name alongside some of the greats of golf in this country would be the highlight of my career ... I got close in 2017, and again last year, so here’s hoping I can lift the trophy in March.”

Tournament director Michael Glading couldn’t be more thrilled about Campbell’s return, stating, “Ben has always had the goods to make it on the world stage, and we’re now seeing the fruits of his labour.”

While New Zealand’s top-ranked player Ryan Fox is still finalising his schedule, organisers remain optimistic about his participation. Fox affirmed his commitment, stating, “I will do all that I can to play in the New Zealand Open, as it is one of my favourite tournaments of the year.”

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