Brown and Lee headline Tauranga Open field
Former European Tour professional Mark Brown and Japan Tour pro Richard Lee, who shot a 59 at Tauranga Golf Club in 2010, headline the field for the third Charles Tour golf event for the year, the $40,000 Tauranga Open starting Thursday.
Strong challenges are also expected to come from three-time Charles Tour winner Doug Holloway, former champion Mark Purser, seasoned pro Grant Moorhead and two-time Charles Tour winner Troy Ropiha, who won the Wanganui Pro-Am at the weekend.
"It's great to have the calibre of Mark Brown and Richard Lee in this strong field, both have shown recent good form in Asia and Japan respectively," said New Zealand Golf manager Phil Aickin, who is the tournament director for the week.
"Tauranga is a course that yields many birdies and we again expect low scores. The course is in great condition and we may again see another sub 60 score."
"The event is building in prestige and no wonder when you look at the list of past winners that includes Josh Geary, Mark Purser, Michael Hendry, Ben Campbell and last year's breakthrough winner Jim Cusdin."
Bay of Plenty's Chris McAlpine said the absence of the likes of Hendry and exciting rookie professional Ryan Fox is an indication that the Charles Tour is working.
"The fact we don't have the likes of Mike Hendry, who is starting in Japan, and Ryan Fox who is playing in New Caledonia, bears testimony to the success of the Charles Tour as these players have moved up in the golfing world."
The men's amateur field is led by academy members Josh Munn, Fraser Wilkin, Sam An and 2010 New Zealand strokeplay champion Bradley Kendall.
There are 132 players teeing it up on Thursday and this field will be reduced to 60 plus ties on Saturday.
The 18 strong women's field is led by Auckland's Larissa Eruera.
- © Fairfax NZ News