Northland amateur realises a dream to earn start in New Zealand Open

New Zealand representative Luke Brown realised a dream when he qualified for the 100th New Zealand Golf Open starting in Queenstown on Thursday.

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.

A further two players will fill the final spots at a qualifier in Queensland on Monday, following the Queensland PGA Championships.

Leading the way at Cromwell was Auckland-based professional Trevor Marshall who fired six birdies in his round of six-under 66 to earn his first start in the New Zealand Open.

Marshall, who is well travelled as a playing professional in Germany, Middle East and North Africa, finished one shot ahead of Brown, with two Auckland teenage amateurs, Jesper Bengtsson, 18, (North Shore) and Jang Hyun Lee, 16, (Titirangi) both shooting four-under 68s to claim the remaining two spots.

Brown, who plays out of The Pines in Whangarei, was thrilled with his result.

“To qualify for a New Zealand Open is a dream for every New Zealand golfer. But to achieve that to play in the 100th Open is pretty special,” he said,

Brown has enjoyed an outstanding last 12 months, part of the Northland team that won the Tower Interprovincial title for the first time in 68 years, and now his first start in a New Zealand Open.

“I am stoked to make it and will take it from there. It would be amazing to make the weekend. But the main thing will be to enjoy the experience.”

The New Zealand Open is co-sanctioned with the Australasian Tour and Asian Tour and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour, and will be staged at The Hills and Millbrook Resort starting on Thursday.

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