He’s almost qualified for a locals’ discount.

Two-time New Zealand Open winner Brad Kennedy clearly has a soft spot for Queenstown — he’s been a regular starter since almost the beginning of the tourney’s resort life — and says this one is ‘‘never off the schedule’’.

‘‘NZ Open is one of those events, for me, that as soon as you get off the plane it just feels like a second home.

‘‘The hospitality and the way you guys put on an event, it really makes the players feel special just to come here, and I think that’s why you get the type of field you do.’’

As to the attraction, Kennedy, 49, says it’s ‘‘not just an event’’, but a vision, and while some, initially, may have been dubious about the pro-am format,

Kennedy sees the benefits it reaps, not just for the players, but the Whakatipu.

‘‘I think without the pro-am format, this event doesn’t have as much input on the area as a whole, to have a reserve list through the amateurs is quite amazing.

‘‘The amateur side of it sets the tone for dinners and functions that really allow guys to take the heat off the golfers — everyone’s so focused on performing, challenging themselves, but sometimes you just need to step away, have a bit of a break and enjoy that part of golf and I think that’s what especially this event gives you.’’

Having lifted the Brodie Breeze trophy in 2011 and again in 2020, he’s going in to this weekend’s 103rd Open a little underdone.

‘‘[My] form is non-existent.

‘‘I haven’t played for three months … I only picked up the clubs two weeks ago.’’

A niggly knee injury had him off the greens toward the end of last year, focusing instead on rehab and training.

Quipping he’s ‘‘more of a cyclist than I am a golfer at the moment’’, Kennedy says he set himself a goal of doing 1000km on the bike before this week’s Open — ‘‘I fell about 100[km] short’’.

Despite the less-than-ideal build-up, the Aussie believes the recollections of the Millbrook Resort course, and the emotional attachment he has to it, may serve him well.

‘‘For me, this week’s going to be all about memories and trying to reboot and understand the type of golf that needs to be played around Millbrook.

‘‘Hopefully, first tee [today] the competition juices will set in and I’ll be able to get in that mindset I know needs to be achieved to be able to perform in this sort of environment, especially.’’

Noting he feels ‘‘comfortable’’ playing here, Kennedy says having tasted success, twice, ‘‘the memories come back and you feel like you belong, and you just run off those emotions’’.

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