Golf: Sir Bob Charles opens tournament

By Peter White

The presence of New Zealand's greatest ever player at the pro-am today gave the Carrus Tauranga Open that starts tomorrow at the Tauranga Golf Club a huge boost.

Sir Bob Charles, who was the first Kiwi and first left-hander to win a major championship when he won the British Open in 1963, was the starring performer at the pro-am warm-up event today.

The Tauranga event is one of five professional tournaments on the Charles Tour, aptly named after the man who first put New Zealand on the golfing map.

Charles has been at the top of his game since he won the NZ Open back in 1958 as an 18-year-old amateur. He won four times on the PGA Tour and 68 times in all, including winning a Spalding Masters event at the Tauranga course in 1969.

Charles is proud to have his name associated with the tour and says he jumped at the chance to be involved.

"I think it is very exciting and I have only played in one of them. I wish I had time to prepare myself to play more than just the pro-am but I am still resolving issues on my farm. Once that is done hopefully I can get out there and play more golf."

Despite his lack of golf, in July Charles shocked the golfing world by shooting 66 at a European Seniors Tour in Switzerland - 10 stokes under his age.

The Carrus Tauranga Open runs from Thursday to Sunday at the Tauranga Golf Club. See tomorrow's Bay of Plenty Times for more details.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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