9 Jul 2013

New Zealand Open returns to The Hills

10:59 am on 9 July 2013

The New Zealand Golf Open will return to Queenstown in the new year.

It has been held in Christchurch the last two years, but will return to Queenstown to be co-hosted by The Hills and Milbrook in late February.

The purse for the event will be a minimum of $850,000.

The decision to change venues follows an agreement between New Zealand Golf, the PGA of New Zealand and Michael Hills Tournaments Ltd to pool resources and hold just one major tournament.

In addition, the parties have agreed to continue to stage an annual NZPGA Championship, initially on a smaller scale.

The new tournament format will be played across two courses with a minimum field of 132 professional golfers playing alongside 132 amateur golfers.

Concurrent to the New Zealand Open Championship, a 72-hole strokeplay event, each professional will be paired with an amatuer playing two rounds, one at each course, in a best ball format.

Following the second round, a professional and pro-am cut will see the final two rounds played at The Hills.

The New Zealand Open has also formed a partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation which will see 15 leading Japan Tour professionals play in Queenstown, while the winner of the tournament will be granted automatic entry into the 2014 Japan Golf Tour Championship and two further Japan Tour tournaments in 2014.