The chance to claim a feature squash event and some vital world-grading points on his back doorstep is proving the perfect motivation for Paul Coll.
Coll, ranked 95th in the world, will compete in the CBHS Squash Open this weekend at the Burnside Club as the No 2 seed.
Fresh from making the quarterfinals last week in the International Squash Classic in Palmerston North, the 21-year-old comes into the tournament in good form.
"It was a good tough tournament last week, and I was really happy with where I finished up," Coll said.
"I was beaten by the No 2-ranked player in the quarterfinals, but we went for 58 minutes which was the longest of any of the playoff matches.
"That tournament was a lot tougher than this one, so hopefully I can carry my form through."
Coll said the chance to play in a tournament such as this weekend's event without having to travel far was a great incentive.
"There is a lot of cost involved in getting around everywhere to play so to be able to play in an event like this at home is a real luxury."
Carrying a purse of US$5000 (about NZ$6000), the tournament is a step down from last week in Palmerston North which carried a prize pool of US$10,000, but the competition is still strong.
With a six-week playing trip overseas getting under way next week, Coll is keen to earn plenty.
"I'm off to America on Monday and from there I go to Malaysia and then England, so this will be a good final hit-out."
The championship has attracted 10 of the players ranked in the world's top 200.
It is just one of two professional events on the New Zealand squash calendar and only the second time the event has been held after the inaugural contest last year.
Led by defending champion, Mike Corren of Australia, players hail from Taiwan, Scotland, Finland, South Africa, Poland, England and the United States as well as 10 players from New Zealand.
Other players from Canterbury hoping to make an impact are Andrew Ellis and junior Chris van der Salm, who have recently joined the PSA tour
The event began with qualifying yesterday and the tournament proper runs from today with semifinals tomorrow and the final on Sunday afternoon.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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