A strong field of 17 Kiwis will head into the first day of the Australasian summer of golf on Thursday when the NSW Open kicks off at the Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club in the Western Sydney suburb of Luddenham.
Included in strong New Zealand contingent will be six previous winners on Australian soil and two of the nation’s top amateur players, all vying to take home the first trophy of the summer.
The first payers will tee off at 6.45am on a course that has seen its fair share of drama already this week as several fast-moving storm cells and a ferocious lightning display halted practice on Tuesday before play resumed.
The forecast for the next four days looks to be warm with temperatures in the high 20’s and only a slight chance of a thunderstorm on Saturday.
Nick Voke is the highest world ranked Kiwi in the tournament, teeing off at 12.15 pm. Ryan Chisnall was the best-placed kiwi last year and he tees off just after 1 pm, alongside countryman Mark Brown.
Other New Zealanders lining up include Ben Campbell, Nick Voke, Gareth Paddison, Campbell Rawson, Michael Long, Harry Bateman, James Anstiss, Denzel Ieremia, Daniel Pearce, Mark Hutson, Hayden Beard, Chang Gi Lee, Fraser McLachlan, Luke Brown and Jordan Woodall.
All eyes will be on impressive youngster Jake Riley, who clawed his way into his first-ever professional tournament with a final hole chip-in during pre-qualifying.
Coached by former PGA Tour Winner Nathan Green, the 14-year-old will be out to show he is a star on the rise and has now set his sights on making the cut on Friday afternoon.
The field will compete for their share in $400,000 at the event where the winner will also receive World Golf Ranking Points, a spot in the field at the 2019 Emirates Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship, as well as exemption onto the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2020 season.