Griffin chases back-to-back wins

Defending champion Matthew Griffin will rely on memory when he tees off this afternoon in the first round of the Handa New Zealand Open.

Griffin has played just one hole after flying more than 11,000kms from South America, arriving in Queenstown yesterday afternoon.

His win last year led to Griffin claiming the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, which included a spot in the field for the WGC – Mexico Championship last week and will play at the Open Championship and the HSBC Champions events later in the year.

Heading from the plane directly to Millbrook Resort it was straight down to business for Griffin as he aims to win the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open back-to-back, a feat no player has achieved since Corey Pavin in 1985.

“It is great to be back and get some good positive vibes from where I played really well last year and there are lots of friends and family here with me this week,” added Griffin.

“I always felt until last year that I had played these courses well but never hit low scores. Last year those low scores came.

“It is a little different being mostly here at Millbrook Resort but I have my first round at The Hills which will bring back some good memories, and hopefully I can channel some of that and get off to a good chance.”

While jet lag could threaten to de-rail Griffin, he is optimistic of being in the mix on Sunday.

“I don’t feel too bad right now as I’ve just jumped off the plane but tomorrow it will kick in a little bit but I just have to make the most of it. Maybe having a short preparation will work for me this week,” added Griffin.

“I love the courses. It rewards good ball striking both The Hills and Millbrook Resort.

“The greens look firm and fast so you have to be hitting the ball well to give yourself a chance and if you are out of position it is hard to hit your way back into position.”

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