Michael Hendry broke a 15 year old drought when he took out the New Zealand Open Championship at Millbrook Resort earlier this year, but an even greater drought beckons across the Tasman this week.

No New Zealander has ever won the Australian Open Championship, a tournament which has a history stretching back more than 100 years.  David Smail has been the closest in recent times: he led going into the last round at Royal Sydney in 2008, played in strong winds which saw David blowing out to a 75, and missing out agonisingly by a single shot.  Will this year be the year one of our players finally gets his name on the Stonehaven Cup?

Emirates Australian Open

Thirteen New Zealanders are in the field of 156 this week: Daniel Pearce, Ben Campbell, Luke Toomey, Fraser Wilkin, Mark Brown, Brad Shilton, Michael Hendry, Josh Geary, Gareth Paddison, Harry Bateman, Kieran Muir, Michael Long and David Smail himself.

On paper, Hendry should be our top contender, having had a week off to refresh and refocus after his 3rd placing in the Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Tour.  If Josh Geary still has any petrol left in the tank after European Tour School and can carry on with his form there, he would also be a prime chance.

However, there are a few obstacles in the way, such as defending Champion and 2017 Open Champion Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Jonas Blixt (Sweden), Mike Weir (Canada), Cameron Smith and 2015 Champion Matt Jones and a host of others who would have some sort of claim….

We will have the answer on Sunday evening: coverage starts today from 2.00pm on SS 52.