NZ chase Eisenhower Trophy glory in Turkey
He knows it is the biggest of challenges, but Ben Campbell can think of no better way to end his amateur golf career than as an Eisenhower Trophy winner.
New Zealand has won amateur golf's most coveted team prize once, famously in 1992, when Michael Campbell, Phil Tataurangi, Grant Moorhead and Stephen Scahill triumphed in Vancouver, a victory that would see them crowned Halberg Awards winners.
The closest they have come since was in Argentina two years ago when Ben Campbell, Ryan Fox and Peter Spearman-Burn combined to finish fourth, and Campbell also finished fourth in the individual standings.
Toppling the United States, winners of the 54-year-old biennial tournament a whopping 13 times, is a big enough ask, let alone the rest of the world, but New Zealand intend to give it a decent crack in Antalya, Turkey, starting tonight (NZT).
"We have a great team,'' Masterton's Campbell said, referring to teammates Mathew Perry (Waikato) and Vaughan McCall (Southland).
''Every time I enter a golf tournament it is to win it and I know the other guys are the same. All of the boys have enjoyed good success over the past two years, so why not?''
Campbell, who has been ranked as high as No 6 in the world, is the only one of the trio with Eisenhower experience, though Perry and McCall have been regular New Zealand representatives during the past two years and played plenty of golf overseas.
Campbell comes into his final amateur event in some form, having made it to the second stage of European Tour qualifying school with a top-15 finish in France at the weekend, and he's fired up for a big swansong over the next four days.
"It's the biggest event in the world for amateur golf and to be playing for your country it's going to be pretty cool, so I don't think you could go out on a better amateur event,'' he said.
It is also expected to be Perry's final event as an amateur, the Hamilton golfer having eyed this week for the past two years.
"It means a lot to represent my country and I'm really looking forward to finishing my amateur career strongly,'' the 2011 New Zealand Amateur champion said.
''We will work through a plan as a team and if we execute that plan there's no reason why we can't emulate the feats of '92. It's a huge opportunity for the three of us.''
A record 72 teams, including defending champions France, will contest this year's event. The best two scores for each of the four rounds count toward the team tally.
- © Fairfax NZ News