Hastings professional Daniel Pearce is scaling back his collective energy into golf because the arrival of a second child in his nuclear family means the game of life is taking precedence.

"I didn't think it was much of a decision to make, to be honest, because I lost both of my tour cards last year," says Pearce who will be teeing off at the 100th New Zealand Open, to be played at The Hills and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown from February 28 to March 3.

The 30-year-old, who competed at the Brian Perry Classic in Hamilton last weekend and jetted off yesterday to Brisbane, is working as a builder's labourer to supplement his income. It's hard work but he enjoys it although he isn't sure if he will take up a building apprenticeship just yet.

He and wife Sarah welcomed their second child, the now 18-week-old Frankie, whose sibling Lola turned 2 on Thursday last week.


Pearce says it wasn't a decision he had to make as such because he didn't harbour any intentions of going back to tour school.

"Sarah and I have spoken about it and with two young kids it's quite lonely here when I'm travelling a lot so I've decided to spend a lot more time at home and be around the family a bit more."

The intensity of playing will drop in winter when professional golf here goes into hibernation until September.

"I'm not giving up on my golf, I'm just taking a slight step back for now so I'm definitely going to pursue my golf but just not quite as intensely for the next four or five weeks.

"No doubt it has been tough but it also allows me to attach myself to my family and move around helping my kids who are very important to me," says Pearce who will compete in the Coca-Cola Queensland PGA Championship at the Toowoomba Regional Council City Golf Club in Toowoomba from tomorrow to Sunday.

He'll return for the $1.25 million NZ Open and then tee up for the $125,000 NZPGA Championship from March 7 at Pegasus. Both events are co-sanctioned on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour Australasia and Asian Tour schedules in conjunction with the Japan Golf Tour.

Pearce will then join the rest of the NZPGA Tour in the country, including the $50,000 Barfoot & Thompson Akarana Open from April 4 and the $60,000 Autex Muriwai Open from April 11.

The tall timber likes to think he has an "okay category [14]" in the Australasian Tour but it won't enable him to secure any bigger tournaments later this year.


He sees it as a wait-and-see scenario to see how things unfold. He is sitting in 30th place in the NZ Order of Merit on 1,690.42 after five events. Other Bay professionals in the order are Pieter Zwart in 16th on 3,285.58 points after nine events; Andrew Henare in 37th on 1,273.55 points after four events; and Douglas Holloway, of Te Pohue, in 43rd with 964 points after seven outings.

Pearce suspects it'll be his sixth NZ Open and one he is looking forward to despite having competed at the higher echelons of the professional circuit including a few Australia Opens and several central European Tour events.

"Playing for your national title in any sport, I think, it's always an honour to be there and a privilege to try to win it no matter what sport it is so I'll try again in the New Zealand Open this year and it'll be very exciting."

It hasn't missed his attention that the NZ Open has been going from strength to strength because the organisers have done a fantastic job with the format in trying to establish a sound formula.

"It's attracting bigger and better players every year so it's pretty exciting for New Zealand golf and for all the guys playing in tournaments around it."

Daniel Pearce on his way to winning the inaugural professional section of the annual Kapi Tareha Memorial Tournament at Napier Golf Club in August last year. Photo / File
Daniel Pearce on his way to winning the inaugural professional section of the annual Kapi Tareha Memorial Tournament at Napier Golf Club in August last year. Photo / File

Playing the patriotic card, Pearce says nothing eclipses the fervour of someone lifting the silverware in their own country so it tends to bring out that little bit extra in Kiwis.

"To see a Kiwi win the 100th, I think, will be pretty awesome."

He rates the The Hills world-class and what the organisers are doing with it is something special although Millbrook is incrementally on the rise every year in Queenstown.

"For me it's another event and I'll be doing the best I can as in any other event I'll play in, I guess."

Pearce's best finish at the NZ Open was 11th in 2017.

He'll be gunning for four solid rounds and if the sun aligns with the third rock and the stars then he'll be over the moon but, if not, then he'll have come away having immensely enjoyed himself as he has done on numerous other occasions.

The driver is the biggest dog in his bag and he gives it all the leeway to growl and bite when the need arises.

"On the good weeks my putter works really well as well so if I can do those things well then I have every chance of having a great week down there."

While iron play isn't Pearce's forte he is mindful he hits that ball a fair way — in the vicinity of 280m to 300m — not to have the need to pull out the metal works from his bag of tricks.

The inaugural NZ Open was played in 1907.

Pearce will be in a field of 152 professionals who will play the first two rounds alternately at Millbrook Resort and The Hills before the second-round cull of 60-plus ties.

The final two rounds will be staged at The Hills to determine the champion after 72 holes of stroke play.

The tourney also will host 152 amateur golfers, each pairing up with a professional in a two-man, best-ball event, competing for the NZ Pro-Am Championship.

Some of the big drawcards at the NZ Open include Ryan Fox, Michael Campbell, Geoff Ogilvy, Jason Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond, KJ Choi, Kodaira Ichihara, Matthew Griffin, Shiv Kapur, YE Yang and a swag of other Kiwis and former champions.