Jordan Golding will soon tee it up on the the biggest stage in his golfing career.
The 19-year-old from the Omanu Golf Club is one of four Kiwi amateurs named to contest the New Zealand Open Championship at The Hills Golf Club and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown in February.
He joins top ranked Cameron Jones (Muriwai), Kadin Neho (Whangarei) and Vaughan McCall (Gore) in the what is expected to be the biggest golf tournament staged in New Zealand for many years.
The four amateurs will look to follow in the footsteps of Australian Jake Higginbottom who won the title in 2012 at Clearwater to be the first amateur winner of the NZ Open since 1956.
Golding secured his place in the elite company when he won the 76th NZ Maori Golf Championship in Taupo in 2013. There was no New Zealand Open in 2013 due to tournament rescheduling so Golding qualifies for the Queenstown event and due to rule changes he is the last winner of the Maori Championship to gain automatic entry.
"It is pretty exciting actually as it is such a big event and not many people get the opportunity to play in it," Golding said.
The 19-year-old has not been in his best form lately and he struggled through this year's NZ Maori Golf Championship held in Te Puke earlier this month.
But he is confident he can perform well under the pressure and public glare of the national open.
"I have been working on a bit of confidence and believing that I can play well and shoot low numbers. It's more the mental side of things at the moment."
Golding has not played either of the courses in Queenstown but wants to do more than just make the weekend rounds.
"I have been looking at this believing I can play well and do better than just make the cut. I am setting higher goals than that and feel I can play well down there."
Jones secured his place in the NZ Open when he won the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club for his breakthrough national win.
"It's a pretty special feeling getting to tee it up in my National Open again," said the 21-year-old.
"I'm extremely excited and working really hard at the opportunity I have to compete with the pros. It will be a good test around two great courses with a really strong field."
Joining Jones will be Northland No1 Neho, who made history at the Manawatu Golf Club when he became the first golfer from Northland to win the New Zealand Amateur Championship in 120 years.
McCall, who won the New Zealand Stroke Play and the New Zealand Amateur Championship in 2012, earned his place in his second NZ Open after finishing as the leading player on the 2013 NZ Golf Order of Merit.
In a landmark agreement between New Zealand Golf and the NZPGA, the two organisations have agreed to pool their resources to create one truly iconic golf tournament. The NZ Open will adopt the PGA Championships Pro Am format that has been so successful in 2012 and 2013.Golf.
Joining The Hills as a co-host for the 2014 New Zealand Open is the neighbouring Millbrook Golf Resort. The two course tournament will see an increased field of 132 pro golfers and 132 amateur golfers split equally across The Hills and Millbrook for round one with the entire field alternating for round two. Following the second round pro and pro-am cut, the final two rounds will be played at The Hills.