Interstate Teams Matches kick off in Tassie

The Australian Interstate Teams Matches gets underway this week with 90 of Australia’s best amateur golfers competing at Royal Hobart and Tasmania Golf Clubs with the finals scheduled for this Friday at Tasmania Golf Club.

The series consists of singles match play in a five day round-robin format, concluding with Friday’s final between the top-2 teams on match wins. The men’s teams consist of eight players, while the women’s teams consist of six players.

Cameron Smith Cameron Smith (Credit: Anthony Powter)

New South Wales are the defending Men’s champions after a 5.5 to 2.5 win over Tasmania last year at Royal Adelaide and are bound to have their work cut out for them this year with strong teams being fielded by Queensland and Victoria.

Queensland has dominated the men’s tournaments in recent times winning the last two of the three series and have returned with a star-studded team that includes three players in the world top-50, Viraat Badhwar (26th), Cameron Smith (27th) and Taylor MacDonald (50th).

They are supported by Aaron Wilkin, Jake McLeod, Kevin Marques, Simon Vitakangas and James Gibellini.

Victoria is another team packed with talent and has a great history in this event with dual wins in 2008-09 to be another firm favourite for these series.

Victoria’s top-guns include Geoff Drakeford, Nathan Holman, Todd Sinnott, who are supported by Lucas Herbert, Ryan Ruffels, Anthony Huston, Ben Eccles and Thomas Power Horan.

The New South Wales team also packs punch and it will be interesting to see how the defending champions compete with a team that includes a number of new-comers to the inter-state series.

Jake Higginbottom, Daniel Bringolf, Dimi Papadatos have since turned professional leaving Brett Drewitt, Jordan Zunic, Callan O’Reilly and Ricky Kato the only players of the 2012 winning side.

Troy Moses, Ruben Sondjaja, Dale Brant-Richards and Cameron Davis are the newcomers to the NSW lineup, with Ben Clementson missing selection after being an essential part of last year’s team when he secured a a vital 4&3 win in the final at number seven over Tasmania’s Samuel Rawlings.

The opening men’s round sees Queensland against Western Australia with Brady Watt and Daniel Hoeve heading the WA lineup.

Victoria will meet South Australia, with New South Wales against Tasmania.

New South Wales is scheduled to play Queensland in the second round and this promises to be a corker of a match, with Victoria taking on Western Australia at the same time.

When the series was last held in Tasmania in 2007, the New South Wales team of Jamie Arnold, Scott Arnold, Rudi Bezuidenhout, Rohan Blizard, Richie Gallichan, Justin Roach, Grant Scott and TimStewart were victorious.

These series have always provided stellar encounters between our best amateurs.

Golf Australia selectors watch with interest the one-on-one contests for an indication as to who should be considered for team selection. That and the player pride at stake gives these series an additional dimension and excitement.

With a potential Aussie Amateur final re-match of Cameron Smith against Geoff Drakeford, to be followed by a Brady Watt against Cameron Smith encounter, it is easy to see why these series are something special and it is a format that should not be tinkered with.

In the women’s series Western Australia will be looking to for a third straight win for the Gladys Hay Memorial Cup, a feat not achieved since New South Wales from 1999-2001.