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New Zealand Open hit by vandals

The 88th New Zealand Open will go ahead as planned on Thursday despite three greens being vandalised on the eve of the tournament.

Peter Wall, a spokesman for the Gulf Harbour Country Club in Auckland, released a statement saying that holes had been dug in three greens and one of the greens had been written on.

"It's very disappointing but our greens staff have repaired the damage and it won't have any effect on the tournament," Wall said.

New Zealand media reported that the word "murderers" had been sprayed on one of the greens. Wall said he had spoken to a local environmental group about the incident but had been assured they were not involved.

The club was criticised by conservation groups last week after a tame duck named Daphne was accidentally killed during an authorised cull of paradise ducks that were damaging the course.

The New Zealand Open has been included on the European Tour for the first time and this year's field includes several European Ryder Cup team members and 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie.

The title favourite is Craig Parry, who won last week's Heineken Classic in Melbourne after a playoff with fellow Australian Nick O'Hern.

 

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