Kiwi test awaits Asian Tour players at ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open

Fri 23 Feb 2018

Kiwi test awaits Asian Tour players at ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open

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Queenstown, New Zealand, February 23: The Asian Tour will break new ground as it heads to New Zealand for the NZ$1.2 million ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open next week.

The event is one of New Zealand’s leading sporting events and welcomes the Asian Tour as its full co-sanctioning partner with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia following an initial collaboration in 2017 which saw 10 Asian Tour members featuring in its field then.

Steeped in history, the New Zealand Open, which was founded in 1907, will be played at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from March 1-4.

Australia’s Scott Hend, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2016, will spearhead the Tour’s challenge alongside Tour winners, Paul Peterson of the United States, Poom Saksansin and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand as well as compatriots Marcus Fraser and Todd Sinnott.

“Going to a new country especially a beautiful one like New Zealand is always good. It gives us the opportunity to play on a different golf course and compete against the best players,” said Poom.

The event will also provide the Asian Tour Qualifying School graduates and Asian Development Tour (ADT) players with the opportunity to prove their worth on the international stage.

Thailand’s Pannakorn Uthaipas, winner of the ADT Order of Merit title in 2017, will tee up together with promising graduates such as Kurt Kitayama of the United States at the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open, which also works in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

“Winning my first wire-to-wire ADT title in Malaysia and finishing third at the Asian Tour Qualifying School have been my biggest highlights for me this year. I’m just very excited to be getting this opportunity to play in New Zealand now.

“My brother spent six months in the country and said it was incredible. I’m looking forward to travelling to another new country and playing the event,” said Kitayama.

The ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open will see 144 players compete for the first two rounds before the halfway cut is made where the leading 60 players and ties progress to the final two rounds.

The unique nature of the event also includes 144 amateur players, who will each partner a professional in a two-man best-ball event in the first two rounds.

“It’s a great way for the sponsors to feel more involved in the event and I’m sure they will enjoy the experience of playing with the professionals.

“It’ll take more patience since the rounds are usually longer than the regular ones. But it’s okay and it’ll be something that I’ll get used to during the week,” said Kitayama.

Ends.

About Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.

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