NZ Golf in talks to secure top Kiwis for Open
New Zealand Golf remains hopeful that all the top Kiwis could play in November's New Zealand Open at the Clearwater Golf Club.
Boss Dean Murphy yesterday confirmed his organisation was in the middle of discussions with the top Kiwi players including Michael Campbell and Danny Lee for the November 22-25 tournament in Christchurch.
The availability of New Zealand No 1 Lee will depend on how his battle to retain his PGA tour card is placed closer to the time.
Lee, ranked 221 in the world, stated last year that he was keen to come back and play at the event, but had to change his plans as he hunted a permanent gig on the US PGA tour.
The Press understands Lee was upset he was unable to play last year, but the same scenario could unfold this year.
The best chance for Canterbury galleries to see Lee at Clearwater is if the 21-year-old can pick up his PGA card early - he has two ways of doing that.
After missing out on the Fed Ex Cup playoffs, Lee has been playing on the second tier web.com tour.
He's currently 230th on its money list, but needs impressive results - probably including a win - to make it inside the top 25 and earn his card that way.
More likely, but equally tough, would be securing the card through the final four Fall Series events on the PGA Tour.
Lee is 159th on the PGA money list and the top 125 retain their card.
And, while that calculation seems far easier, all the other players just inside or outside of the magic top 125 will all be looking to improve their chances too, meaning Lee would need to feature near the top of the leaderboard in at least one tournament, but more likely two.
If Lee does not retain his card, he will remain in the US and play in the Qualifying School events, which clash with the New Zealand Open.
The chance of a second straight visit home for Campbell appear greater.
The 2005 US Open champion has found form of late, but is unlikely to make the European Tour season-ending event, the World Tour Championship, in Dubai.
That event is for the top 60 money earners in Europe and his €93,813 (NZ$148,415) earnings so far have Campbell in 148th and a long way from Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson in 60th on €355,002.
So Campbell's diary is likely to be empty and a trip back to the Australasian Tour could entice him home and, New Zealand Golf hopes, a number of other top Australasian golfers too.
The rich Australian Masters is the week before the New Zealand Open, in Melbourne and Murphy was hoping New Zealand Golf could piggyback on that tournament to bring top Australian players here. That is unlikely to mean players inside the top 50 in the world, but Murphy was confident the field could be stronger than last year's.
“Where we sit in the calendar is great for us,” he said. “Straight after the Masters hopefully means we can attract more top Australasian players and we're confident we can keep the players we had last year, too.”
Murphy said the three-man New Zealand Eisenhower Trophy team of Mathew Perry, Ben Campbell and Vaughan McCall were all likely to play and 10 spots would be given to top New Zealand amateurs.
There would also again be a qualifying tournament at Russley shortly before the Open, in which 10 more spots would be contested.
It was a fantastic weekend for Russley's Harry Bateman, winning both the Rangiora and Templeton opens.
Bateman shot a birdie-laden seven-under 65 in the opening round of the 36-hole Rangiora tournament to take a four-shot lead into the final round.
His one-under 71 in the afternoon was enough for an eight-under total and a four- shot lead from Rangiora's Shaun Allan on Saturday.
Bateman followed up that win with a one-shot victory at Templeton on Sunday.
His one-under 36-hole total was enough to beat fellow Canterbury player Tom Turner (Christchurch) and masters player Paul Bailey (Amuri) by a single shot.
Tinwald's Catherine Knight held her nerve in a playoff with Russley's Jess Guenzerodt to win the Russley Open on Sunday.
Both players shot even par 74s, but Knight was surely relieved to win the title after dropping from three-under back to even with bogeys on 15, 17 and 18 in regulation.
Knight won the second playoff hole with a birdie.
Meanwhile, Christchurch's Jordan Bakermans finished seventh at the Wellington strokeplay tournament at Paraparaumu Beach at the weekend.
* An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Jess Guenzerodt won the tournament. We apologise for the error.
Canterbury Golf has named its teams to play Aorangi-South Canterbury in their annual match. Four Canterbury teams will play their Aorangi-South Canterbury counterparts at the Ashburton Golf Club on September 30.
Senior men: Tom Turner (Christchurch), Jason Yoo (Waitikiri), Michael McAuley (Russley), Nic Kay (Coringa), Regan Kilpatrick (Russley), Daniel Laughton (Templeton), Richard Reed (Christchurch), Moon Hak Lee (Coringa).
Women: Sylvie Williams (Waimairi Beach), Elisha Crosbie (Russley), Melissa Newburn (Coringa), Kate Turner (Rawhiti), Nicole Woodgate (Templeton), Kim Moggach (Coringa), Shani Arona (Templeton), Georgia Wayman (Waimairi Beach), Amelia Garvey (Kaiapoi), Zhantel Weekes (Coringa), Fiona Gebbie (Coringa), Hillary O'Connor (Coringa).
U19 men: Oscar Cadenhead (Clearwater), Jake Hallinan (Weedons), Lewis Gillon (Russley), Connell Kilpatrick (Russley), Thomas Hardy (Coringa), Vincent Guan (Russley).
Masters: Andrew Dufton (Russley), Paul Bailey (Amuri), Jason Sincock (Coringa), John Rademakers (Kaituna), Ian Carruthers (Coringa), Paul Brightwell (Coringa).
- © Fairfax NZ News
Did you watch the test match?Related story: 'I'm just watching the test match'