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Rejuvenated Campbell on a golfing mission

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/03/2017

Ben Campbell has shaken off the mystery injury which plagued him for a year, and is a man on a mission as he approaches this weekend's New Zealand Open in Queenstown.

This time a year ago, Campbell said he doubted whether he'd be able to play golf again.

Initially, tissue through his chest and ribs was thought to be the problem, but Campbell said there seemed to be more involved.

"This time last year I didn't think I would play golf again - I was getting cut open with operations," he said.

"I went on antibiotics for four months, and after a month I was feeling a lot better.

"I had some sort of disease or infection, whether I got bitten by a spider or a tic. I don't think I will ever know what the actual cause was, but it's nice to feel back to 100 per cent now."

Campbell says it's taken a lot of patience to work his way back.

"I am pretty lucky, from where I have been until where I am now.

"At the end of last year I knew my game was good and I was starting to play the way I wanted to again. I have just kept working hard."

Campbell is hoping to become the first New Zealander in 14 years to win the national Open, and has shown some encouraging recent form.

He finished runner-up to West Australian Jarryd Felton at the New Zealand PGA Championship last week, and says there's still plenty of room left for improvement.

"I need to make sure I fully commit to my shots - I was doing that with my full swing, but struggled a little with my pitching," he said.

"My putter was a little hot and cold, I did putt very well at points but missed a couple of key points. All in all, I feel like my game is heading in the right direction."

Campbell aside, the field boasts a strong representation of top Kiwis headed by European Tour player and Olympian Ryan Fox.

Michael Hendry, fresh from the WGC Mexico Championship, will be joined by a host of local talent including Mark Brown, David Smail, Brad Shilton, Nick Gillespie and rookie professional Luke Toomey.

The Open tees off at Millbrook Resort and The Hills in Queenstown on Thursday.

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