The Australian is one of 12 former champions to contest the New Zealand Open which is co-sanctioned with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour, and staged at The Hills and Millbrook Resort.
The 28-year-old, who stormed to a four-round record of 27-under par to win last year, comes off a victory at the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship last week. He feels the victory has him in a good place with his game.
“It is nice when the form comes in at the right time. I played pretty well over the summer. I just had to tweak a few things and I think we have made the right choices and changes with my game to hopefully be in contention again this year,” said Nisbet.
The Queenslander said the win opened up opportunities for him, although a lack of consistency at the end of the year cost him further honours on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
“There is so much to play for – the European Tour access, there’s different tournaments you can qualify for like WGC and Dunhill Links and others, all these events that come off the back of finishing high on the moneylist. That is about being consistent throughout the year.”
He is excited about coming back to Queenstown and the Open, where the final two rounds will be at The Hills this year after Millbrook Resort hosted last year.
“It is a pretty amazing place flying into Queenstown. The scenery here is second to none. Whether defending or not, it is such an amazing feeling coming back to these courses and this area. The two courses are absolutely world class and coming back in is a great feeling.
“Obviously we played Millbrook more last year so I have a bit more experience there but I also played well at The Hills and I like this course.
“They both have very different aspects where you need to be stronger. Around Millbrook you need to be stronger off the tees and around The Hills you need to be stronger around the greens.
“I just hope I can be in contention at the end of the week.”
There are 152 professionals and 152 amateurs taking teeing it up in the first two rounds played at both The Hills and Millbrook Resort before a cut to the top-60 professionals plus ties, and any amateur inside that number, to compete in the final 36 holes at The Hills.