Former Champs Vie for New Zealand Crown


Michael Campbell, Frank Nobilo, Phil Tataurangi and defending champion David Smail will all be on hand to compete in their national Open, the 2003 Holden New Zealand Golf Open, to be played at the Auckland Golf Club.
The $700,000 purse will have 17 of the top 20 New Zealand golfers vying for top honors along with a list of past winners including Smail (2001) and Campbell (2000), fellow Kiwis Matthew Lane (1998), Michael Long ('96), Grant Waite ('92) and Bob Charles ('54, '66, '70, '73), and Australians Lucas Parsons ('95), Craig Jones ('94) and Peter Fowler ('93).
Waite, who lost his PGA Tour card after not finishing in the top 150 on the money list, sees this week's tournament as a great opportunity.
'I'm not coming down for a vacation,' said Waite. 'I want to win the tournament. I want to have this to get some momentum going and go back to the United States and in those 15 tournaments try and win one or two, or at least enough money to get my card back.'
Nobilo, who has never won his national Open but finished runner-up twice, maybe making his final appearance due to back problems that continue to bother him. The 1997 Greater Greensboro Classic champion, though, is delighted the host country's field continues to improve.
The 42-year-old gives an approving nod to the field, as many of New Zealand's top golfers are playing along with a group of talented young Kiwi players.
'It's the first time I think where we've had people basically competing well on every respective tour, whether that be Australia, Europe, Japan or America, and I think that's very, very positive,' said Nobilo.
The 42-year-old believes it is a strong field with 17 of the top 20 New Zealand golfers playing alongside the abundance of talented young Kiwi players.