Gunning for 100th

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An Arrowtown pro golfer who announced himself at last year’s New Zealand Open can’t wait for the 100th edition of the event.

This Tuesday, organisers started a 100-day countdown to the prestigious event, which again tees off at Arrowtown’s The Hills and Millbrook Resort.

Ben Campbell created his own slice of Open history during 2017’s dramatic play-off at Millbrook, won by fellow Kiwi Michael Hendry.

He says the event, which has established itself in Queenstown in recent years, just gets better and better.

“And obviously, being the 100th [starting February 28], everyone will be trying to gun for it.

“It’s such a cool event with the pro-am format, a couple of party holes, a fun atmosphere.

“I think with golf going forward it needs to appeal to people in those sorts of ways, and that’s why I think the NZ Open is in a niche little spot where it is kind of helping golf a lot.

“And you play on two amazing golf courses.”

Having the event in Queenstown is also a magnet, Campbell says.

“I’ve got probably 15 to 20 people coming down from the North Island, so everyone sees it on TV and wants to come down.”

And it captivates players, too.

“There’s no other event where players stay on for a week.

“You’ve got guys that bring their girlfriends over or they stay with a few friends till Thursday/Friday the next week.”

Meanwhile, Campbell says he’s had a solid year and is heading in the right direction

He’s had a first place, in the NZ PGA Championship, a second place, in Bangladesh, and a third place, at the Fiji Invitational.

The 27-year-old’s also enjoyed a good rookie year on the Asian Tour and has already secured his card for next year.

Next week he’s off to the finals of Japan Golf Tour’s qualifying school.

scoop@scene.co.nz