27 February 2019: Indian star Shiv Kapur believes his well-deserved family holiday will keep him refreshed as he aims to establish himself as one of the genuine contenders for the 100th New Zealand Open which starts on Thursday.
The spirited 37-year-old will spearhead the Asian Tour challenge in the talented field when he makes his debut appearance at the NZ$1,250,000 (approx. US$850,000) event, which is slated to take place at the scenic Millbrook Resort and The Hills.
The four-time Asian Tour winner is also relishing the opportunity to play alongside close friend and former National Cricket Team captain Stephen Fleming in the event, that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
Known for his love for cricket, Kapur took time off to participate in a cricket match at the Millbrook Cricket Ground on Monday. He also made an unforgettable trip to the beautiful Milford Sound with his family amidst his preparations for the event.
Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat is looking to better his tied-55th place result from last year as he gears up for a second attempt at the New Zealand Open. He sang praises of the event’s Pro-Am format, which he deemed will help him stay relaxed and bring out his ‘A’ game.
Coming off the back of a victory, Australian Daniel Nisbet is hoping to kick start his title defence with a bang at the prestigious event, where 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.
A total of 152 professionals from 17 countries will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills before the second round cut of top 60 and ties.
The final two rounds will be played at The Hills and the New Zealand Open Champion will be the leading player after 72 holes of stroke play.
The tournament also hosts 152 amateur players, each partnering with a Professional in a two-man best-ball event, competing for the NZ Pro-Am Championship.
Notable Pro-Am celebrities to look out for include Black Caps legend Stephen Fleming, former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, Tom Walsh, the world indoor and outdoor champion shot putter and newly-crowned New Zealand Sportsman of The Year, as well as Hayden Paddon, a former World Rally Championship driver.
Did you know?
- After finishing tied-26th at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth, Shiv Kapur spent a week off with his family in Australia before coming to New Zealand for his first New Zealand Open.
- Upon his arrival in Queenstown, Kapur took time off to participate in the cricket match which featured legends Stephen Fleming and Ricky Ponting on Monday. He also enjoyed a trip to the stunning Milford Sound with his wife Maya and daughter Veda on Tuesday.
- Kapur, the Asian Tour rookie of the year in 2005, ended an 11-year title drought when he won the Yeangder Heritage in Chinese Taipei in 2017. He went on to win two more titles and became the only player to win three tournaments that season.
- Kapur enjoyed four top-10 finishes in 2018, including a joint runner-up at the Royal Cup in Thailand. Kapur is one of the best putters on Tour. His Putts/GIR average of 1.731 placed him in 10th position in this category in 2018.
- Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand won his National Open for his second Asian Tour title last year. He has enjoyed solid results in his last three starts on Tour, finishing third at the 2018 BNI Indonesian Masters, tied-ninth at the 2019 SMBC Singapore Open and tie-15th at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth two weeks ago.
- The 26-year-old Panuphol, who goes by the nickname ‘Coconut’, sits in 193rd place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
- Known as one of the better ball-strikers on the Asian Tour, Panuphol is hoping to improve on his tied-55th place finish in what was his debut appearance last year.
- Defending champion Daniel Nisbet, who hails from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, enters the week right after winning the QLD PGA Championship on Sunday for his third title in 12 months on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
- Nisbet 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.
- The 28-year-old 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.
- He will be one of the 13 past champions gathered at the event, which is celebrating its 100th edition this week.
“I had a lot of high expectations of New Zealand after all that I had heard and it has definitely lived up to the hype and so much more now that I am here. I think it’s by far the prettiest place in the world to play golf,” said Kapur.
“Stephen (Fleming) and I have known each other for a few years now, from his playing days as captain of the National Cricket Team for New Zealand to being the coach of Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
We have been talking about playing together for a couple of years now and it’s great that it’s happening this time. We played in a cricket match at the Millbrook Cricket Ground earlier this week and we have been paired together in the tournament as well.
He is one of my childhood heroes on the cricket field and to be able to partner with him is a real honour for me.”
My wife and daughter are here with me this week,” added Kapur. We made a trip to Milford Sound yesterday and it was absolutely stunning. We went by plane through the mountains. It was really worth the trip.”
About the 100th New Zealand Open
- The tournament is one of New Zealand’s leading sporting events with a long and prestigious history.
- The tournament was founded in 1907 and will be played for the 100th time in 2019.
- The tournament is a co-sanctioned event on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour schedules.
- The tournament also has a partnership agreement with the Japan Golf Tour.
- A professional field of 152 players will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills before the second round cut of 60 + ties.
- The final 2 rounds will be played at The Hills.
- The New Zealand Open Champion will be the leading player after 72 holes of stroke play.
- The tournament also hosts 152 amateur players, each partnering with a Professional in a two-man best-ball event, competing for the NZ Pro-Am Championship.