Young guns set to shine once again in Queenstown

The New Zealand Open presented by Sky Sport is back-in-play early next month and Tournament Director Michael Glading is hedging his bets on the young guns who are set to tee it up at Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort between March 2 – 5.

In recent years, the New Zealand Open has featured some of the best-rising stars from around the world including Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, Cameron Davis, Lucas Herbert and Cameron Smith, all of whom played in New Zealand just before breaking through on the world stage.

Glading says that New Zealanders have been lucky to see some of the next generation of the world’sbest players at the New Zealand Open in recent times and has another top tip for fans looking to catch a glimpse of the next big thing in golf. 

“In 2020 I predicted big things for Tom Kim who led the field for the first three rounds as a 17-year-old, and this year I suggest that spectators make sure they watch Riki Kawamoto. I believe that he too will go on to play at a much higher level in the near future.”

“Riki is one of the most exciting young players in the field this year. He is only 21 years old and last year was statistically the longest hitting player on the Japan Tour, so he’s clearly one to watch in 2023.”

“With other young players like Australians Jack Thompson (who won the Asian Tour Qualifying School earlier this year), John Lyras, David Micheluzzi and Elvis Smylie, joined by our own Daniel Hillier (who earned his DP World Tour card after a fantastic 2022), I believe we will once again be watching some of the future superstars in world golf in Queenstown. Young Americans Andy Ogletree (winner of the 2019 US Amateur) and Turk Pettit (2021 NCAA Champion) are also in the mix.”

It’s not all about the up-and-coming players in attendance, as there will be a strong contingent of experienced professionals in the field. They include 2022 Senior PGA Champion Steven Alker, Scott Hend, Brendan Jones, Wade Ormsby and our own former champion Michael Hendry.

“It’s great to have Brad Kennedy back in Queenstown, as he’s been waiting since 2020 to have the chance to win his third New Zealand Open title, a feat only eight players have managed in the 101 previous championships,” says Glading.

“Jason Scrivener is another excellent Australian player who has had so many excellent performances on the DP World Tour, where he is currently ranked eleventh.”

“Bio Kim will be amongst the favourites come tournament week. He is the number 2 player on the Asian Tour and has previously competed on the PGA Tour.”

“Japan’s Mikumu Horikawa returns for his fifth visit and is one of the real stars in Japan, having won four times on tour with career earnings of over $4.6 million NZD. Watch out also for Yuto Katsuragawa, who sits well inside the world’s top 150 players following an incredible year in 2022.”

The 102nd New Zealand Open presented by Sky Sport will take place between March 2 – 5, 2023 at Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.

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