Aussie lefties in the swing for NZ Open - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussie lefties in the swing for NZ Open

15/12/2004 08:30:53 PM Comments (0)

Three Australian left-handed golfers form the first wave of top names confirmed for the New Zealand Open in February.

Victorian Richard Green, winner of the Australian Masters last Sunday, and West Australian's Nick O'Hern and Greg Chalmers have signed on for the tournament at Gulf Harbour north of Auckland starting on February 10.

Joining them will be 1995 New Zealand Open winner Peter O'Malley, the New South Welshman who is a regular visitor to New Zealand.

With prizemoney bumped up to $NZ1.5 million ($A1.41 million), and with the tournament co-sanctioned with the European Tour, there are hopes of good quality Europeans lining up.

Organisers are hopeful of one or two of Europe's winning Ryder Cup team members being in the field, but the likelihood of a top headline act like Colin Montgomerie turning up is remote.

However, organisers have their fingers crossed more classy names will be revealed in the next few days.

Green, 33, beat Chalmers and fellow Australian David McKenzie at the first hole of a three-way playoff to win the Masters at Huntingdale to clinch the Australian Order of Merit season title.

And that's opened a variety of doors for the 12-year professional, including a start in the US Open next year.

He is playing a string of European Tour events in the early part of 2005 to clear some room for an American expedition midway through the year.

Green three times finished in ties for second on the European Tour this year, at the French Open, European Open and the KLM Open in the Netherlands.

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