24 Feb 2012 - Source: New Zealand Golf
Two of New Zealand’s leading amateurs Ben Campbell and Vaughan McCall have been invited to play in the inaugural NZ PGA Pro-am Championship at The Hills near Arrowtown from March 29 - April 1.
The two Srixon Academy players, who played the championship course last October when they represented New Zealand at the Four Nations Cup to finish second, are looking forward to the opportunity to play the innovative event.
For the New Zealand No.1 amateur Campbell, who is based in Melbourne, it is a rare trip home and another opportunity to mix it with the leading professionals from Australasia.
“I always love going down to Queenstown,” said the 20-year-old Campbell who has been ranked as high as sixth in the world in the amateur rankings.
“It’s a great course and it should be a great event to play.”
For McCall, who played solidly in his rookie year representing New Zealand in international golf last year, it will build on his development as one of the countries up and coming amateurs.
This event will be even more special for the Southland No.1 as it is the biggest tournament he will play close to home with his family and friends in company.
“It’s my second professional event after playing in the New Zealand Open so I can’t wait to see how I fare against a field of good golfers,” said the 20-year-old from the Gore Golf Club.
McCall admits he comes to The Hills with a point to prove after he was not at his best during the Four Nations last year. He had rounds of 77, 84, 76 and 71 to finish 14th on the individual standings.
“I can’t wait to get back there and see what I can give it.”
Campbell showed at times what he was capable of that week. He finished in a share of second on the individual standings with rounds of 75, 70, 72 and 69. He thinks the Pro-am format will be a new challenge.
“I have played the old am-ams and a few things like that but not really when it’s a big tournament when you’re looking to play well so it’s a different task so it should be good to face the challenge.”
He finds The Hills an intriguing layout that is full of risk and reward opportunities.
“I really like the golf course it’s a great layout. I find it really interesting you have always got to be thinking. There are a couple of par fours you can drive but it’s not worth going for them if you miss it in the wrong areas you can make bogey pretty easily. It all about decision making and it depends on the weather so I am really looking forward to the week at The Hills.”
NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship organisers have already announced several players in the professional field, including 10 time US PGA Tour winner David Frost from South Africa and New Zealanders Phil Tataurangi, David Smail, Mark Brown, Michael Hendry and Gareth Paddison.
Oscar nominated actor Don Cheadle headlines the celebrity amateurs playing in the event. He will be joined by British Open winner Sir Bob Charles, World Amateur No.1 Lydia Ko, ex-All Blacks Justin Marshall, Andy Haden and Jeff Wilson, Wallabies legend Nick Farr-Jones, Black Caps opener Mark Richardson, netballer Julie Coney, media personality Murray Deaker, ex All Black Coach (and Chair of the Organising Committee) John Hart and business personality Sir Michael Hill.
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New Zealand Golf Media and PR Manager
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