Date: November 23, 2005

Beware the Wind says Lonard

Defending champion Peter Lonard has warned high winds could transform Moonah Links into one of the toughest Australian Open challenges this week. Lonard, who is after a hat-trick of Open titles after winning at Moonah two years ago and at The Australian last year, is preparing for a different test of golf. In 2004 the layout was relatively tame due to modest conditions and, while Lonard is looking forward to more wind, he says too much will be a problem. “I don&apost mind it blowing a bit,” Lonard said. “Two years ago it was pretty tranquil weather conditions really, I think. “A little bit of wind wouldn&apost hurt – I wouldn&apost like it to be exactly like it was last time. “But the greens are pretty quick so you don&apost want any 50 mile an hour blusters, we could be in a bit of trouble,” he said. “They were perfect yesterday and it was pretty windy but if you throw in one of these massive winds that we tend to get down here it could be interesting.” According to Lonard, the winner could be the player who draws the best conditions to start in – but he says one or two shots under par might be enough to take the title. “It&aposs going to be a little British Openish – if you get stuck on the wrong side of the draw it could finish you right off first day,” Lonard said. “For some guys it might be perfect in the morning…but I think anything under par&aposs going to be pretty good if the wind gets up anyway.” Lonard said he enjoyed the links-style course, describing it as “very interesting.” “It gives you a little bit of width off the tees, a little bit of risk and reward if you go over bunkers or lay it up short of bunkers.” – Robert Grant