Confidence is key for the Kiwi trio of defending champion Michael Hendry, Ryan Fox and Ben Campbell going into the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open starting in Queenstown on Thursday.
The trio are confident of their chances in the 99th New Zealand Open, co-sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour. Campbell comes off his breakthrough professional win at the Horizon Golf NZ PGA Championship at the weekend, while Fox has taken time out to refresh and re-focus following his tie for third in his European Tour event in Malaysia.
While Hendry has not been in his best form this year, the 2017 winner has been pleased that his hard work is beginning to bear some fruit.
They are among the 144 Professionals to contest the $1.15 million tournament at Millbrook Resort and The Hills.
The key to them all is confidence.
“My form hasn’t been great but I feel I have played better than my results. I have been working particularly hard and was happy with how I played today,” said Hendry, who finished 17th on the Japan Tour Order of Merit in 2017.
“Confidence levels and expectations are always changing but it takes a certain amount of pressure off. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone that I can win it because I’ve done it.
“That said I would love anything in the world to win it again and I have done pretty well defending golf tournaments.
“It’s amazing even when you haven’t been playing your best what good memories and confident thoughts can do when you come to venues you have played well at before. If you know deep down that you are good enough on your day that counts for a huge amount.”
Fox, who was 34th in his rookie year on the European Tour, said his run of top finishes in three big tournaments in a row in France, Ireland and Scotland last year, has given him belief.
“I believe I can compete out there and after those three weeks. I was competing against the best players in the world and playing with the likes of Jon Rahm and Justin Rose,” said Fox.
“Sometimes belief is hard without the results and thankfully I've got results to back it up now and I’m starting to believe. At the start of last year, I was a little bit of an unknown and I probably didn't believe as much as I should of.
“The best players in the world believe that they are the best players in the world. There are guys that have got that far almost on confidence alone. It's the mental side of the game, the belief and the confidence which is the big part of it.”
Campbell is full of confidence after his resounding victory in the NZ PGA Championship, and has the benefit of returning to his home course; Millbrook Resort.
“It's always nice I suppose getting the monkey off your back and I played pretty solid last week,” said Campbell.
“I learned quite a bit in the Open and it gave me more confidence and that I felt like I should be here.”
His key is improvement in his short game, with major change to his putting technique that showed dividends at the NZ PGA last week.
He will then hope the support from his local Queenstown friends and fans will help boost his confidence.
The 144 professionals will complete their final practice on Wednesday ahead of the first two rounds at Millbrook Resort and The Hills. There is a cut to the top-60 players plus ties to contest the final two rounds at Millbrook Resort.
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