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Michael Campbell top attraction at New Zealand Open

The PGA Tour of Australasia travels to Auckland this week for the 2006 Blue Chip New Zealand Open, being held at the Gulf Harbour Country Club on Whangaparaoa Peninsula, an hour north of Auckland.

Michael Campbell, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated sporting sons, is the undoubted star attraction of this week’s NZ$1,500,000 event, the second European co sanctioned tournament on the Australasian Tour in two weeks.

Campbell, the 2005 US Open Champion will return home to play for the first time since his Major victory and will no doubt be the player the crowds will flock to see.
Campbell last won the New Zealand Open in 2000, the same year he won the Australasian Tour Order of Merit.

Australian left-handers Richard Green and Greg Chalmers who shared second place in the MasterCard Masters last week also head to Gulf Harbour in fine form, flanked by his namesake Nathan Green and a trio of past aussie winners Peter Fowler (the 1993 champion), Peter O’Malley (1995) and Terry Price (2004) returning to try and win the competition for the second time.

A team of over 20 New Zealanders including world No 22 Campbell, Phil Tataurangi, Craig Perks, Steve Alker and Michael Long will be fighting to ensure that the 89th New Zealand Open trophy is kept on home soil.

Gulf Harbour hosted the 2005 Blue Chip New Zealand Open, won by Sweden’s Niclas Fasth, as well as the World Cup in 1998, which was won by the England side of David Carter and Nick Faldo.

Facts about the 2006 Blue Chip New Zealand Open

The 2006 Blue Chip NZ Open is the richest event on New Zealand soil

• Total prize: NZD $1,500,00
• First prize: NZD: $270,000

- Field Size: 156 players (total) will compete in Rounds 1 & 2 before the field is cut to the leading 65 professionals and ties. Any amateur tied with or lower than this score will also qualify for rounds 3 & 4.

- The course measures 6,358 metres and this year has been reduced to a par 71.

- It was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr and was opened in time to host the 1998 World Cup of Golf.

- The last person to successfully defend the title was American Corey Pavin (1985-86)

- Tournament Scoring Record (4 rounds): 266 Miles Tunnicliff – England, (2005 New Zealand Open, Gulf Harbour – par 72)

- Tournament Scoring Record (one round): 63: (2005) Niclas Fasth (Swe), Richard Green (Aus), Miles Tunnicliff (Eng)- (Par 72)

- Last amateur winner of the NZ Open: 1956, Harry Berwick (Australia)

- 2005 Result: Niclas Fasth became the first Swedish golfer to win the championship after he won a dramatic play-off with England’s Miles Tunnicliffe at the second extra hole. The pair were locked in the lead at 18 under with nine holes to play and both ended on 266, a staggering 22 under par and four shots ahead of Australians Richard Green and Simon Nash.



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