Kiwis looking to continue form at NZ Open

The Australasian tour kicks off across the Tasman today for the BMW NZ Open. Total prize money is AUD$400,000 and the tournament is hosted once again at the Clearwater Resort just outside Christchurch.

The Kiwis certainly put it to the Aussies last week at the Masters recording three top-6 positions at Kingston Heath. It’s now time for the Aussies to return the favour.

Michael Hendry Michael Hendry (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The Australians will be on the look out for Gareth Paddison and Mark Brown, who finished tied third and Michael Hendry, who was placed sixth at the Masters.

Hendry also had a good showing at the Perth International where he was tied fourth. Kiwi star and former US Open Champion, Michael Campbell, is out chasing bigger fish on the European Tour and will miss the event.

The Aussie charge will be without Brad Kennedy, the defending champion. He is committed to the Japanese tour following a win in June at the Mizuno Open.

Peter O’Malley heads the Australian line-up along with Aaron Townsend, Jason Norris and Steven Jones.

There are some other good prospects. Adelaide-based Nick Cullen has just returned from missing out on the final stage of Q school in the States. He will be keen to make his mark in this event. He has had some good results since turning professional, including winning the 2012 Indonesian Open.

David Bransdon had a top ten finish at the Masters having missed the cut at the Perth International.

So, although the short odds are on the leading Kiwis, Hendry and Brown, it is a wide-open field. There are plenty of opportunities for the young guns to flex their muscles and for the punters to take a risk on the outsiders.

A bit of local track knowledge will help.

While Clearwater does not have a reputation that favours big hitters, recent rain and cool conditions have left the course playing long.

The par fives will be out of reach unless shots are wind assisted. With receptive greens and calm conditions, expect some low scoring for the early starters.