12 Former Champions Line up at the NZ Open this week

The Brodie Breeze Challenge Cup (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Twelve former champions who have held the Brodie Breeze Trophy 19 times between them, will take part in the 100th New Zealand Open in Queenstown this week.

The Open, sporting 152 players from 17 countries, (an event co-sanctioned with the Australasian Tour and the Asian Tour and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour) will be staged at The Hills and Millbrook Resort starting on Thursday.

In addition, another three former champions with seven New Zealand Open titles between them, will take part in the special Par 3 event at The Hills on Wednesday. They comprise four-time winner Sir Bob Charles, two-time champion Greg Turner and Mahal Pearce.

The New Zealand Open, first played at the Napier Golf Club in 1907, has also attracted a record three former Major champions in US PGA winner YE Yang and US Open winners Geoff Ogilvy and Michael Campbell, along with KJ Choi, who won the ‘fifth major’ The Players’ championship.

There are three former winners who held aloft the Brodie Breeze Trophy in the 1990s in Australian Fowler, who is a long-time resident in New Zealand and won the title in 1993. He is joined by fellow Australian O’Malley, the only person to win the New Zealand Amateur, New Zealand PGA and New Zealand Open titles, and Western Australian-based Kiwi Michael Long, who won at Paraparaumu Beach in 1996.

Those who won the title in the first decade of the new Millennium include Campbell, who prevailed at Paraparaumu Beach in 2000 after an exciting playoff with compatriot Craig Perks; David Smail, who went on to win two tournaments in two weeks after claiming the Open in 2001 at The Grange in Auckland; and the 2006 winner, Australian Nathan Green, in the co-sanctioned event with the European Tour at Gulf Harbour.

The last seven champions have all returned to compete: Australians Brad Kennedy, Jack Higginbottom (the last to win as an amateur back in 2012), Dimitrios Papadatos, Jordan Zunic, Matthew Griffin and defending champion Daniel Nisbet along with New Zealand’s Michael Hendry.

Amateur realises a dream to earn start.

New Zealand representative Luke Brown realised a dream when he qualified for the 100th New Zealand Golf Open.

The 24-year-old Northland player, who has been part of the New Zealand Golf squad for four years, shot a five-under par 67 to be one of four players to earn a spot in the field in the final qualifying tournament at Cromwell Golf Club.

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