Queenstown - Australia’s Daniel Nisbet will be eyeing another successful outing when he returns to defend his title at the 100th New Zealand Open, which gets underway from February 28 to March 3 next week.
The 28-year-old Nisbet, who hails from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, overturned a six-shot deficit when he closed with a superb nine-under-par 62 to win by two shots for his maiden Asian Tour title at the Millbrook Resort 12 months ago.
He eagled the 10th hole for the second straight day and nailed four consecutive birdies in his closing five holes to end his campaign in style with his closing 62 going into the tournament’s 99-year history books as one of the finest closing rounds.
The Australian, who dropped only two shots that week, broke the tournament record set by Rodger Davis (262) in 1986 with his aggregate of 258. His 27-under-par total also bettered the lowest score to par held previously by Kel Nagle on 26-under-par in 1964.
Buoyed by happy memories and positive vibes, Nisbet is eager to return to his winning ground and get his title defence underway at the NZ$1,250,000 (approx. US$850,000) event, which will be contested once again across two spectacular golf courses – The Hills and Millbrook Resort.
“The Hills and the Millbrook resort are very special courses to me and I love the whole area in Arrowtown and Queenstown. I am pretty excited just to go back and defend my title. I have been playing well the last few months so my game is slowly improving.
“I want to be competitive at the New Zealand Open and do everything I can to be in the mix again. It’s been a great experience playing in Asia. I got the opportunity to play in Asia thanks to my victory last year. I learned a lot about each event,” said Nisbet.
Nisbet will be vying for top honours alongside Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, who leads the latest Habitat for Humanity Standings, as well as Shiv Kapur of India in the event that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
Other notable players in the field include three-time Asian Tour winner Poom Saksansin of Thailand, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines and New Zealander Ryan Fox, who just claimed his maiden Asian Tour title in Australia last week.
The tournament, which is featuring on the Asian Tour for the second straight season, incorporates a unique Pro-Am format which brings together a prestigious blend of professional and amateur golfers.
Founded in 1907, the tournament is one of New Zealand’s leading sporting events with a long and prestigious history. It will be played for the 100th time in 2019.