Young amateurs looking to light up The Lakes

Some of the world’s best pros will need to keep the “pedal to the metal” at The Lakes this week.

Taking the cash is all very well but even that loses much of its appeal if an amateur’s name happens to be above yours on the leaderboard.

Min Woo Lee Min Woo Lee (Credit: Anthony Powter)

And given some of the amateurs’ efforts around the country in recent weeks that is a possibility.

Some of the world’s best amateurs will hit The Lakes at this week’s Emirates Australian Open quietly confident they can make a name for themselves.

Seven of the top 20 amateurs in the world will be there to test Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley and many of the top Aussies…and they’re not frightened of beating them either.

Perth’s Min Woo Lee and Wodonga’s Zach Murray have been weighing up their options of turning professional…with Murray making the decision this week that he would “play for pay”.

While the No.7-ranked Lee is expected to follow suit in the near future.

There’s plenty of other talent taking part as well with world No.14 David Micheluzzi, of Melbourne, and Australian Junior champion Connor Fewkes, of Kalgoorlie, hoping to make their mark.

Norwegian Viktor Hovland, the world No.4, won the US Amateur in August and last week won the individual section of the East Lake Cup while representing his Oklahoma State University.

Japan will also figure prominently with Australian Amateur champ Keita Nakajima returning after a recent third-place finish in the Asia-Pacific Amateur.

The victor on that occasion in Singapore was his countryman and Masters and Open Championship-bound Takumi Kanaya, the world No.8.

Kanaya not only dominated Asia-Pacific’s best, he was also second in the individual standings at the recent Eisenhower Trophy in Ireland.

New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier, a former Australian Junior champion, has ridden an impressive 2018 winter campaign to rise to No.18 in the world and will return for his second shot at the Stonehaven Cup.

And he’ll be joined by American Zach Bachou, the world No.17, who successfully defended his Canadian Amateur crown in August.