Youthful Kobori and local hope Campbell chase goals in New Zealand Open

Heading into the 103rd New Zealand Open presented by Sky Sport at Millbrook Resort, 22-year-old Kazuma Kobori is in red-hot form and standing in the spotlight.

A constant presence on the leaderboards since turning professional at the start of the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia this season, Kobori already has three Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia wins under his belt for the season.

But this week is a new challenge – being one of the favourites in his national open for the first time.

The leading amateur at last year’s Open, where he placed sixth overall, Kabori is taking everything in his stride.

“I played nicely last year and have been playing well recently,” Kobori said today.

“Golf is a funny game, so I have no expectations, just have fun… I’ll let my game take over. I took last week off which was very much needed and did some practice back home. I feel really refreshed and keen to get underway.”

Currently sitting in pole position for the 2023-24 Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit title, Kobori’s aim for the week is to control the controllables and play golf his way.

“My goal now is to finish in the top three on the Tour and qualify for the DP World Tour,” he said.

A win, or even a high finish given this event carries quadruple OOM points, would seal the deal.

Joining Kobori as a chief contender at Millbrook is fellow New Zealander Ben Campbell, playing on his home course as he continues to hunt down his first New Zealand Open title.

“It’s always nice playing in front of friends and family,” said Campbell. “I have come second a couple of times so it’s one that you want to get across the line and being the national open it is always one you want to come home for.”

Despite some challenges in his game, the 2023 Hong Kong Open champion is confident he is nearly back at his best.

“For me, it’s going to be working on the putting, getting the speed of the greens, and making those putts. I will always have some events where I don’t travel that well, and that’s how it goes, we should have everything under control this week. Top of Form

The 103rd New Zealand Open presented by Sky Sports will be played from Thursday 29 February to Sunday 3 March. 
Hosted by the stunning Millbrook Resort, the tournament is one of three marquee events on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and the Tour’s penultimate event, with a share of $2 million NZD and 4,000 Order of Merit Points on the line. 

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