Top class field for Perth International

The inaugural Perth International Golf Championship starts this Thursday at Lake Karrinyup Country Club with the claim of being Australia’s richest golf tournament.

The $2 million event will be the first Western Australian owned golf tournament to be played in Perth since the Heineken Classic, hosted at The Vines between 1993 and 2001, before it moved to Victoria.

Charl Schwartzel Charl Schwartzel (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour and committed for three-years, the event has attracted international stars Bo Van Pelt, Paul Casey, Jason Dufner, currently ranked number nine in the world, and Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters Champion.

Dufner was runner-up at the 2011 US PGA Championship and has enjoyed a stellar 2012 season with seven top-10 finishes highlighted by wins at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Schwartzel from South Africa has already won seven times on the European Tour highlighted by his stunning victory at the 2011 Masters Tournament where he became the first player in history to birdie the final four holes to win the coveted Green Jacket.

West Australian Greg Chalmers, the reigning Australian Open and Australian PGA Champion, has confirmed his start in the event which was timely for tournament organisers following the withdrawal of notable Europeans Marcel Siem, Thorbjorn Olesen, Danny Willett and Robert Rock.

Chalmers, the leading money winner on the 2011 PGA Tour of Australasia, has enjoyed a strong year on the PGATour and currently sits 57 on the world ranking.

Australia is well represented by Brett Rumford, Craig Parry, Rick Kulacz, Matt Jager, Richard Green with promising amateur Oliver Goss, a quarter-finalist at this year’s US Amateur, invited to play the event.