There had been competition golf played since 1893, but in the inaugural New Zealand Open at Napier Golf Club a record 130 players participated. The field included 123 amateurs and seven professionals and was dominated by amateur legend A.D.S.(Arthur) Duncan who became the first New Zealand Open Champion. Napier Golf Club
J.A.Clements from Wanganui was only 19 years old when he became the first New Zealand born professional to win. He went on to become prominent in the games development. He went on to win again in 1909 & 1912. Otago Witness - 30 September 1908
A.D.S.Duncan dominates at Christchurch's Shirley course winning with a total of 295, a tournament record that would stand for 20 years. Duncan won again in 1911 at Belmont in Wanganui.
E.S. Douglas, a newcomer from Scotland won his first NZ Open in bitter conditions at Balmacewen. He went on to defend in 1914 at Auckland's Middlemore course, then after the NZ Open was not played during the war years returned to make it three in a row in 1919. That event was back at Napier Golf Club. Douglas would win for the last time in 1921. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/
The Jellicoe Cup for the lowest individual round was presented by Earl Jellicoe of Scapa. The inaugural winner was A.D.S.Duncan with a score of 71. Duncan finished runner up to E.J. (Ernie) Moss in an event played at Middlemore. Moss would win again in 1927 & 1933.
Andy Shaw won the first of his seven New Zealand Open Championships. At Miramar in this year he beat E.J. Moss in an 18 hole play-off. Shaw went on to win four in a row, 1929-1932, 1934 and 1936. Shaw was truly a legend of the game in this era.
The Bledisloe Cup for leading amateur at the New Zealand Open was presented by Viscount Bledisloe with the inaugural winner Brian Silk.
Bob Charles wins his first New Zealand Open as a professional. Played at Paraparaumu Beach and a strong field including England's Tony Jacklin, Charles won by a record 13 strokes which still stands today.
Simon Owen wins his only New Zealand Open Championship at Heretaunga.
The legendary Payne Stewart traveled down under playing in the New Zealand Open. Stewart went on to win three majors before his tragic death in 1999.
Ian Baker-Finch wins his first national Open Championship, later going on to win the 1991 British Open.
Another future major winner plays in the New Zealand Open. Corey Pavin won at Paraparaumu and returned the next year to successfully defend his title at Russley.
Australian Rodger Davis sets the scoring record when winning his first of two New Zealand Opens at the Grange. He won by eight shots scoring 67, 62, 65 and 68. A young Jose-Maria Olazabal finished 7th. Davis won again in 1991.
It took a seven hole play-off before Irishman Ronan Rafferty beat American Larry Nelson. Later that year Nelson won his third major championship, the US PGA.
The New Zealand Open moves to The Hills for the next three years. This is the final year of the European co-sanction, but is replaced for the next two by the USPGA secondary tour (Nationwide) co-sanctioning. Bob Charles becomes the oldest player to make the cut in an official European Tour event, aged 71.
Despite the February 2011 earthquake which killed 185 people, New Zealand Golf retain Clearwater as the venue. Brad Kennedy wins in a play off from 2002 champion Craig Parry, while kiwi Josh Geary finished 3rd.
The New Zealand returns after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The 102nd edition of the tournament will be held across the two championship courses at Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.