Canberra golfer Chris Campbell follows sister Nikki onto comeback trail

Canberra golfer Chris Campbell says his sister Nikki's career revival has given him belief he can breathe new life into his own, after moving within striking distance of reclaiming his Japan tour playing rights.

But first he wants to celebrate his 39th birthday on Thursday by getting his Australian Masters campaign at Metropolitan Golf Club off to a good start.

Chris Campbell heads to Metropolitan Golf Club for the Australian Masters on Thursday.
Chris Campbell heads to Metropolitan Golf Club for the Australian Masters on Thursday. Photo: Steve Christo

After losing her Japan card two years ago, younger sibling Nikki has enjoyed a superb European Tour campaign, moving to sixth on the money list with third place at last week's event in China. 

Chris is one step away from a Japan return after a six-year absence after advancing to the final stage of qualifying school last week, with the six-round finale to be held after next week's Australian Open. 

Nikki has been ultra-consistent in her second European season, securing nine top 10 finishes in 16 events. 

Qualifying school creates huge pressure, and Chris wants strong results at the Australian Masters and Australian Open to give him confidence for Japan. 


"I get great pleasure from Nikki doing well and ... vice versa," he said. "To see her bounce back and be sixth in Europe after losing her Japan card, it maybe means I can do a similar thing – get back to Japan and play my best golf.

"I lost my playing rights, went through a bit off course with a sick family member and didn't play very well for a while. I feel like now I've adjusted and [am] playing some good golf. I just need to get some good results in a really good event to prove it to myself."

Plagued by loneliness in Japan, Nikki was set to play one more year there before quitting golf. 

Losing her tour card forced her to have a crack at Europe, which Chris said had proven a blessing in disguise. 

"She was talking about quitting golf," he said. "Japan was great money for her, but the lifestyle was living out of a suitcase and being the only English-speaking girl on tour. It finally wore her down.

"She probably has 20 good friends over there [Europe] she hangs out with regularly, it's a totally different environment."

Australian golf is enjoying a resurgence, with big names Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Boo Weekley to feature on the domestic circuit this summer.  

Chris believes officials should do everything they can to attract top young players, to bring a new audience to the game. 

"What Australian golf needs is to try and invite every player under 30 they can who's making lots of money, because that's who people want to see," he said.  

"For people who know golf [getting Weekley] is awesome, but if you want to bring new people to it you really need the Jordan Spieths and the Rickie Fowlers."