World class field set for Australian Amateur

Over 300 amateur golfers, male and female, will compete this week in Sydney in the Australian Amateur being contested at The Australian and The Lakes Golf Club.

Both the Australian Men’s and Women’s Championship is contested over 36-holes stroke play qualifying, with the leading 64 men and 32 women progressing to elimination match play starting Thursday, with the final 36-holes for both championships to be contested on Sunday at The Australian Golf Club.

Lucas Herbert Lucas Herbert (Credit: Anthony Powter)

There are 234 men competing, none of whom has a handicap higher than 0.8, a figure down from 1.4 last year with 30 odd players being balloted for the last positions. The Australian Women’s Championship has the strongest field in years with 78 players competing and the highest handicap 1.8, down from 4.4 last year.

The Women’s competition was further strengthened with over 20 of the 25 Astor Cup players from last week’s Commonwealth teams event in Adelaide staying on to compete in Sydney.

The women’s field includes the majority of Korea’s national squad, a first that country has sent such numbers to an international championship, which is headed by world number 37 So-Young Lee, yet world number 9, Eun-jeong Seong is not competing.

The Australian contingent include members from the winning Astor Cup team last week in Adelaide with Shelly Shin, Hannah Green, Becky Kay, Jenny Lee and Gennai Goodwin all competing.

The men’s field is certainly pack with talent including Great Britain’s Nick Marsh and Adam Batty and Canada’s Corey Conners who won last Saturday at the Lake Macquarie International.

The internationals are against a strong local contingent of players which includes Lucas Herbert, Ryan Ruffels, Ben Eccles, Simon Viitakangas, Jarryd Felton, Taylor MacDonald, Cory Crawford, Zach Murray who won the Australian Master of the Amateurs, Troy Moses and Curtis Luck who finished runner-up in this event last year to Korean-born New Zealander, Tae Koh.

The Australian Men’s Amateur dates back to 1894 when The Royal Melbourne Golf Club began holding its event known as the Victorian Golf Cup. After the formation of the Australian Golf Union in 1898, the Amateur Championship of Australia was held and the winners of the Victorian Golf Cup where recognised officially to be Australian Amateur Champions.

Previous winners of the title include Greg Chalmers (1993), Brett Rumford (1998), Brendan Jones (1999), Scott Arnold (2009), Matt Jager (2010), Cameron Smith (2014) and last year Tae Koh.

The Australian Women’s Amateur has seen Minjee Lee victorious in 2013-14, Lydia Ko in 2012 with Stacey Keating winning in 2010.