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NZ Open Returns to Millbrook Resort

The enduring appeal of Queenstown for visitors and avid golfers has enabled organisers of the 103rd New Zealand Open to play the long game in the build-up to the 2024 event from February 29 – March 3. The largest event on New Zealand’s golfing calendar is back in play for 2024 at Millbrook Resort after being held in Queenstown between 2007-2010 and then every year since 2014.

The New Zealand Open Brodie Breeze Trophy was first presented in 1923 and 2024 marks the 11th year the event will be held in its unique Pro-Am format with paying amateurs paired with professional golfers from New Zealand, Australia and Asia and beyond competing in a best ball format for the New Zealand Pro-Am Championship title.

Tournament director Michael Glading says 2024 is the year of consolidation following a successful post Covid-19 event in 2023.

“From an organisational point of view we’ve added more internal resource from which we’ll see long-term benefits. Thanks also to the support of our underwriter Millbrook Resort which has invested in two world-class championship courses, Coronet and Remarkables, we’re now able to plan three to five years in advance with more certainty, putting longer-term strategy and growth plans in place.”

He says people attending the tournament will discover some exciting new features.

“There’s a real focus on enhancing the spectator experience for 2024 and we are grateful for the continued support of stakeholders who are invested in the event and Queenstown.”

“Commercially we have gained some new major sponsors in investment and insurance specialists Craigs Investment Partners and Gallagher Insurance as well as local supplier Cookie Time.”

The new Kiwi partners join domestic sponsors Sky Sport, SBS Bank, Rebel Sport and Manuka Doctor and are accompanied by international investors including Hyundai, Oji, Diners Club, Danu, PT Caturkasa Megatunggal and Poongsan.

“The level of support is extremely gratifying, and as always our amateur field for the Pro-Am is sold out with a significant international wait list.”

Michael says attracting top name golfers and well known ambassadors to the event is made easier by the Queenstown appeal factor.

“On the global scale we now offer significant prize-money but have elected not to pay any players an appearance fee. Once they have been here and experienced everything on offer, including playing on some of the world’s most scenic courses, they are keen to come back.”

Brendan Jones from Australia after winning the 102nd New Zealand Golf Open. Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown, New Zealand. Sunday 5 March 2023. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

Showcasing The Best

NZ Open tournament director Michael Glading says continued support from top ranked players is key to an exciting event while the international field for 2024 again includes up and coming young players.

“I travel to overseas tournaments to cherry pick some I want to invite. We have hosted many of the world’s most promising players from Asia and Australasia and 2024 will again showcase some of the best.”

Total prize purse for the co-sanctioned Tier One Australasian and Asian tour event is expected to rise from $1.7m in 2023 to at least $1.8m in 2024.

Brendan Jones from Australia after winning the 102nd New Zealand Golf Open. Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown, New Zealand. Sunday 5 March 2023. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes / www.photosport.nz

Returning Winners

*Australian Jordan Zunic, who won the Open in 2015, comes from a high-performing basketball family but golf came first. Currently playing on the Challenge Tour in Europe, the 1.96m 31-year-old is looking to add to his four career victories.

2014 winner Australian Dimi Papadatos impressed with his audacious stroke-making taking the Open title after only 18 months as a professional. The 32-year-old’s most recent success is his second victory at the Victoria Open in 2022.

*Zach Murray,26, is another Australian who hit the big time with a win at his first major test in 2019 making him the first fastest rookie to win on the Asian Tour.

* 2016 winner 40-year-old Matt Griffin is always exciting to watch representing Australia at the Eisenhower Trophy as an amateur before his dramatic final hole battle to lift the Brodie Breeze trophy.

*Double-up winner 49-year-old Brad Kennedy from Australia lifted the trophy in 2011 and 2020, becoming only the fourth player in the Open’s 103-year-history to win it twice.

*Last year’s winner Brendan Jones, the most successful foreign player on the Japan Golf Tour, will be back in defence mode. With a string of titles to his credit in a 20-year career the NZ Open trophy eluded him until his 48th birthday in 2023.