The Barfoot & Thompson Akarana Open has received a timely boost with the recently crowned New Zealand Open champion Michael Hendry locked in to play tomorrow.

Hendry adds to an already exciting field after becoming the first Kiwi to win the National Open in 14 long years.

This will be Hendrys first Jennian Homes Charles Tour event since winning the Lawnmaster Classic last year and he will be searching for a repeat performance as looks to become the most prolific winner in the tours history.

"Its great to be back playing on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour and hopefully I can continue my form from Queenstown against some of the best golfers in New Zealand," said Hendry.

Hendry is showing why this tour is vital for all levels of talent as he prepares for a big stint of golf where he will play seven out of the next eight weeks on the Japan Tour.

"To be able to compete in these local events is a crucial step as I try to lift my game and prepare for a busy schedule in Japan, so we are lucky to have this tour."

Playing alongside New Zealands second highest ranked golfer is the new Amateur Stroke Play champion Mark Hutson. The North Harbour representative has had a magical few weeks after winning the South Island Stroke Play by a dominant five shots, followed by a wire-to-wire victory on an even bigger scale at the prestigious National Stroke Play event last week.

He will be feeling at the top of his game and now gets the chance to test it against one of the best in the first two rounds at the Akarana Golf Club.

"Its a pretty exciting opportunity to play alongside Mike and hopefully I will not only compete with him, but learn along the way," said Hutson.

"Experiences like this dont happen often so I cant wait to get out there and hopefully continue my good form."

The defending champion Kieran Muir also returns in an attempt earn his second consecutive victory on the Jennian Homes Charles Tour. It has been a quiet year for Muir after his maiden win on the national circuit, but he will no doubt be hoping that playing at a course he knows well will spark him back into form.

Other past champions in the 116-strong field include the experienced duo of Gareth Paddison and Josh Geary who have shown solid form on the PGA Tour of Australasia and will be wanting to translate that into becoming two-time Akarana Open Champions.

Sadly, the newest Queensland PGA Champion, Daniel Pearce, has had to withdraw from the event with a concerning back injury. The Hawkes Bay professional has recently been in top form so to see him forced to pull out is a sad sight for all.

This week is also a special occasion for Aucklands Brittney Dryland who will be defending her maiden Jennian Homes Charles Tour title after a dominant performance last year to win by two shots.

In difficult conditions, she showed class to hold off a very strong field and she will require the same form to hold off the best of the rest this week.

Nipping at the heels of Dryland will be the dangerous duo of Alanna Campbell and Chantelle Cassidy. With their combined experience, its going to be an exciting week at the glorious Akarana Golf Club.

After the Pro-Am was a washout today, the weather is looking very likely to improve throughout the week and the first ball is set to be struck at 7:45am tomorrow.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Golf NZ