Campbell in race for NZ Open


Golf

It will be an early start for Masterton golfer Ben Campbell when the BMW New Zealand Open gets under way at the Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch today.

Campbell, who is turning professional after a stellar amateur career, will tee-off with his former Eisenhower Trophy teammate Ryan Fox, a three-time winner in his rookie year as a professional, and New South Wales pro Ewan Porter at 7.30am from the 10th hole.

For those who see Campbell as a possible "dark horse" in this event, the TAB is offering odds of $200 should he be at the front after four rounds.

Joint favourites for the title are Kiwis Mark Brown and Michael Hendry and Australian Nick Cullen, all of whom are at $9.

Brown, who finished third at the Australian Masters last week, hasn't played the NZ Open for four years and is unfazed by talk of him being a likely winner.

"Yeah, I don't mind," said the former Johnnie Walker champion. "A lot of things have to go right to win a golf tournament, you need a bit of luck and you need to putt well ... it would be great to have a Kiwi winner."

Outside the top three, another Wellington pro in Gareth Paddison is seen as the next best hope. He is paying $17 to win the event for the first time while New South Welshman Aaran Townsend rounds out the top five rated players at $20 for a victory.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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