National News

National News is brought to you by a partnership between Crux and RNZ News 

Golf: Can Steven Alker win the NZ Open?

Feb 29, 2024

New Zealand golfer Steve Alker is fired up to finally win the New Zealand Open.

The 52-year-old has been based in the United States for the past 20 years, but regularly returns home to play the national tournament.

Alker has been the in-form player on the PGA Champions Tour since joining the over-50s competition in 2021.

He has won eight times and would like to bring that winning formula to Queenstown this week.

"I'm still competitive, I'm still playing professional golf," Alker said.

Hamilton-born Alker said it was important for him to play here when he could.

"As a New Zealander, to get back and play in front of the fans and the family and really just to have another crack at it."

Alker is yet to win the New Zealand Open, having finished runner-up twice in 2001 and 2002.

It has been a different story on the Champions Tour - he has won eight times and started in fine form in 2024 with victory in Hawaii in January.

"To carry on that form from last year and have that win was great so a nice positive start and I hope to bring it in here."

The tournament will include a field of up to 156 amateurs and 156 professionals playing alongside one another.

The field will be split across two courses at Millbrook Resort for the first round of competition, with all players alternating to the other course for the second round.

Having played a couple of practice rounds, Alker liked what he saw.

"The course is in great shape, just keep it on the fairway and I think scoring will be pretty good if the weather stays good.

"You know you've got to be aggressive and get after it."

He will have his wife Tanya on the bag this week.

"It was 2014 US Open the last time my wife caddied for me. We are having a blast this week just being here and doing this together and the company we are in.

"There's no golf talk at all which is a nice change from what it's been. We have fun out there. It's a nice change of pace. It's something we haven't done for a while and we have talked about doing. She was going to do it last year but couldn't unfortunately.

"She knows golf, she knows a lot about the game and my game, so we talk often."

Alker tees off at 12:57pm on Thursday, the opening day.

Support Crux Support Crux