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Campbell on the mend, heading home

By Gary Caffell

Former Masterton golfer Ben Campbell still has ambitions of making a big name for himself in professional circles.

But right now the 25-year-old is simply revelling in the fact he is back playing the sport on a serious basis.

Now residing in the popular South Island tourist resort of Queenstown, Campbell hasn’t recovered completely from the chest and rib hassles which have troubled him practically since he first joined the cash ranks in 2012 but progress is favourable.

The regular physiotherapy and chiropractor treatment he is receiving down south has already worked wonder and he anticipates being back to full fitness within another six months.

Just what caused the flare ups in his chest and ribs which caused his energy levels to drop significantly and even threatened to completely end his golf career remains a mystery.

However, the “experts” which are treating him now believe it was probably some sort of virus or infection, or perhaps even a combination of both.

“It was pretty scary for a while, there was even talk of it being some sort of muscle disease,” Campbell told the Times-Age yesterday.

“I virtually got to the stage where I couldn’t swing a club and it was hard not to think I might never get to play the game again.”

And that was a depressing thought for a young man who had made such a huge impression in the amateur game, being the top ranked player in New Zealand for at least three years and No.6 in the world.

It’s a very different Ben Campbell these days, however.

Not only is he buoyed by the fact his health issues are improving by the day but he has been able to again test himself on the professional circuit and the results there have been pleasing as well.

In the last few months he has chalked up a 21st playing in the Fiji International, a fifth in the Queensland Open and a 20th in the Australian Open, the latter after being right up amongst the leaders until the final round.

“I still get the odd twinge of pain but nothing like it was, not even close,” Campbell said.

“The game is still a bit rusty in places but it’s not too bad and it will get better the more work I put in, I know that.”

While his next major assignments are the Victorian and Perth Opens in Australia followed by some tournaments in Canada and the United States, Campbell is looking forward to contesting the Masterton-Eketahuna pro am at the end of this month.

This has been on his bucket list for some time but other commitments have meant he has had to cancel out in the past.

“It’s going to be great to be back home and hopefully I can put up a good show.”

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