Date: November 28, 2006

NZ Open starts Thursday

The focus of the Australasian Tour shifts across the Tasman this week for the 2006 Blue Chip New Zealand Open. Held at Gulf Harbour Country Club just north of Auckland, the event is the second European co-sanctioned tournament in as many weeks following the MasterCard Masters in Melbourne. The draw is studded with in-form golfers and eight past champions, making it New Zealand&aposs premier golf tournament. Richard Green and Greg Chalmers who finished second in the last week&aposs Australian Masters will make the trip along with Craig Parry, Peter O&aposMalley and Terry Price who are all previous winners. Local hero Michael Campbell will no doubt be a big drawcard in what will be his first tournament on home soil since winning the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst. He last won his home tournament in 2000 which was the same year he claimed the Australasian Tour Order of Merit. “They&aposve done a lot to the course and facilities for players, wives and the public were excellent,” he told the Gulf Harbour Country Club website. “The total scene was a big jump up from any other New Zealand Open that I&aposve attended.” Other Kiwis in action include Phil Tataurangi, Craig Perks, Steve Alker and Michael Long who will battle hard to ensure the trophy is not whisked away to foreign soil. The first round gets underway on November 30. Click here to view the opening round draw.