Mark Brown is the undoubted favourite to take out the Carrus Tauranga Open that begins at the Tauranga Golf Club today.
It is hard to go past the man who has won four of the last five titles at his home course in the final event of the Jennian Homes Charles Tour season. The one year missing in the sequence was when he was overseas and Tauranga local Josh Geary won.
If Brown defends his title he will join Michael Hendry as the most successful golfer ever on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour with six tournament victories.
"It's always nice to come back here to the Carrus and have the chance to defend your title. I love playing here and hopefully I can get over the line in front of family and friends once again," Brown said.
"All of the members have been good to me here and I enjoy their support when they come out to watch. This course just tends to suit me I guess. It is not overly long but you have to hit it reasonably straight off the tee which I manage to do most of the time. So It just suits my eye mostly."
Brown's form has been consistent through the Charles Tour without managing to get into the winner's circle. He knows to do that at Tauranga, he will have to score well.
"I think you have to be a long way under par to win this and that has to be the mentality. You have got to make a lot of birdies so 18-under or 14 to 16 is always about the number so you have to have that mindset to go low. Not always easy to do though."
Daniel Pearce is in control to claim the major prize of the summer as overall tour winner.
With two wins this season at the Ngamotu Classic and the Akarana Open, coupled with Gareth Paddison competing in Japan this week, Pearce has a strong grip on the trophy which also comes with an additional $5000 in prize money.
"The Jennian Homes Trophy is a big goal for everyone playing out here, it's an awesome concept and makes you work harder at every event. Hopefully I can do enough to hold off the rest of the lads," Pearce said.
Te Puke pro Jared Pender grew up playing the Tauranga course and could be a dark course to give Brown and co a good run for the winner's prizemoney.
Bay of Plenty also feature strongly in the women's field with Rotana Howard, Jodae Ngaheu, Caitlin Maurice, Taylor Rose, Alessia Trebbi Tindall and Emmalee Morrell all searching for their first win on the Charles Tour.
They will have to go past a strong group of golfers to do so, including New Zealand amateur champion Silvia Brunotti who will be aiming to finish her breakthrough season in style.
The hot favourite, however, has to be Auckland's Brittney Dryland who has featured in every event yet has not recorded a win this season. After opening her account at the Akarana Open two years ago, Dryland will be aiming to record her second victory at this level.
The first golfers tee off from 7.15am this morning with free entry for spectators.