NZ Open delay a boon for Australasian Tour schedule

Recent changes to the Australasian PGA Tour schedule were welcome news; a sign that life may be finally returning to some sort of normality in 2022.

Unfortunately the postponement of our two flagship events, the Australian Open and Australian PGA until early 2022, has in turn put pressure on Golf New Zealand to delay the staging of the 102nd NZ Open.

Brad Kennedy Brad Kennedy won his second NZ Open title in 2020 (Credit: PhotoSport NZ)

The Millbrook Resort-based tournament, which was due to be played in late February, will now take place from March 31st 2022 to avoid any conflicts with the Aussie schedule.

“This new date avoids any tournament conflict for players, and whilst we have no certainty at present, we are hopeful that travel and quarantine restrictions and alert levels by that time will allow more freedom of travel between Australia and New Zealand, and hopefully even further afield,” said Tournament Chairman, Mr John Hart.

“At a time when event after event is being cancelled, the Tournament underwriters Millbrook Resort are determined to do everything possible to stage the New Zealand Open in 2022, hopefully giving Queenstown and the greater Otago region, which has suffered severely during this Covid pandemic, a much-needed economic boost,” said Hart.

Australia’s Brad Kennedy posted a final round 8-under 63 to win the 2020 New Zealand Open by two shots over Lucas Herbert. It was Kennedy’s second Open title having defeated Craig Parry in a playoff to win in 2011.

“Obviously we would have preferred to begin our season as originally planned but the exciting element is that we now look like having a three-month run of tournaments for our players to begin 2022,” said PGA Tour of Australia Tournaments Director Australasia, Nick Dastey.

“We are very appreciative that Golf New Zealand and Millbrook Resort have delayed the NZ Open by a month because it gives us the best chance to get as many of our leading players as possible to Queenstown and deliver a tournament that such a championship deserves.”