Ryan Fox, Mike Hendry targeted for Australasian PGA Tour event in Auckland in January
Organisers hope top New Zealand golfers Ryan Fox and Mike Hendry will headline the return of a top professional tournament to Auckland in January.
The PGA Tour of Australasia announced Wainui Golf Club, on Auckland's North Shore, would host its season-opening New Zealand Masters from January 11-14 with a prize purse of A$100,000 ($NZ110,000) and the black jacket on offer.
Following in the footsteps of the New Zealand Open - scheduled next year from March 1-4 at Millbrook near Queenstown - the NZ Masters will see amateurs joining the professionals under a slightly different format.
Fifty amateurs will join the remaining 50 professionals following the second round cut, with the pros contesting the major spoils as well as a separate team competition with their amateur partner.
PGA Tour general manager Simon Butterly believed the tournament would be well supported by the tour professionals, and said locals Fox (ranked 100 in the world) and Hendry (128) had expressed serious interest in lining up.
Hendry won this year's NZ Open, becoming the first New Zealander to lift the trophy since 2003.
The Auckland tournament was the brainchild of businessmen Gerard Peterson and Rod Duke, and will be staged at Wainui which has been in existence for just over a year.
"We were keen to showcase what a phenomenal course Wainui is and at the same time get an Australasian professional men's golf tournament back into Auckland," Duke said.
"It is important for the growth of the game that our professionals have the chance to compete in as many big tournaments right here at home - we are excited to see if a Kiwi can take home the jacket in the first year."