Queenstown, New Zealand, February 26: Defending champion Zach Murray of Australia is eager for more success after completing a long-haul flight from Mexico, in time to defend his title at the 101st New Zealand Open present by Sky Sport which starts on Thursday.
After competing in his maiden World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship where he finished tied-48th last week, the 22-year-old returns to familiar winning grounds in Queenstown where he won his first title as a professional last year.
It was also Murray’s first win in his third start on the Asian Tour since he graduated from Qualifying School in December 2018.
Major winners Michael Campbell of New Zealand along with Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy are also among the 156 professionals who will join 156 amateurs for the tournament at Millbrook Resort and The Hills.
Ogilvy spent much of the year settling his family into life in Australia after spending a large part of his life in the United States where he won the 2006 US Open.
While he concedes he may not be able to beat his younger rivals in distance now, the 42-year-old is hopeful his vast experience can still put him in good stead for a good showing this week.
Campbell, who headed Tiger Woods by two shots at Pinehurst in 2005 to secure a place in golfing history, returned to the game at the New Zealand Open last year.
The 2000 New Zealand Open champion is pleased to be in good shape physically, but admittedly felt that he is lacking in tournament play after being unable to secure regular starts on the Seniors Tour.
The tournament tees off with 156 professionals and 156 amateurs playing at Millbrook Resort and The Hills, before the cut for the final two rounds are played at Millbrook Resort.
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.