Michael Campbell, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated sporting sons, is the undoubted star attraction of this week’s Blue Chip New Zealand Open as The European Tour touches down at the Gulf Harbour Country Club in Auckland.
The 36 year old Maori, who became a Kiwi sporting legend as soon as he holed the wining putt at the 2005 US Open Championship, returns to his homeland to play competitive golf for the first time since his landmark victories in the US Open and at the 2005 HSBC World Match Play Championship as he attempts to win his second Blue Chip New Zealand Open title, having won the event in the year 2000 en route to topping the Australasian Tour Order of Merit.
Now a co-sanctioned event between The European Tour and the Australasian Tour, the Blue Chip New Zealand Open boasts a prize fund of NZ$1,500,000, and sees former champion Campbell, and the Australian trio of past winners Peter Fowler (the 1993 champion), Peter O’Malley (1995) and Terry Price (2004) returning to New Zealand to try and win the competition for the second time.
Campbell is delighted that his home country’s national Open Championship is back on the international stage with a strong title sponsor in the shape of Blue Chip and a high class field that not only includes four former champions, but also features 18 European Tour champions.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in the Blue Chip New Zealand Open and it’s great that a company like Blue Chip Financial Solutions is supporting the event, and the game of golf throughout New Zealand,” said Campbell.
“This year’s Blue Chip New Zealand Open will be special also as it will be my first competitive tournament in New Zealand since my wins at the US Open Championship and the HSBC World Match Play Championship last year.
“It’s very important, not only to me personally, but to the whole country, to have such an important event as the Blue Chip New Zealand Open on the sporting calendar, and Blue Chip are to be congratulated for coming onboard, and supporting this event, and the game of golf throughout New Zealand.”
While Campbell and company are providing the star studded line up thanks to the outstanding support of Blue Chip, the Gulf Harbour Country Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr in 1997, offers the perfect stage for such a prestigious event.
Gulf Harbour hosted the 2005 Blue Chip New Zealand Open, won by Sweden’s Niclas Fasth, as well as the World Cup in 1998, which was won by the England side of David Carter and Nick Faldo.