A record field of 126 men and 18 women will compete for South Australia’s premier Amateur Golf Championships, the Golf SA Men’s Amateur Classic and Women’s Rene Erichsen Salver which in 2015 will be partnered by the W Group.
The Championships played concurrently from Monday 16th to Thursday 19th March will return to Royal Adelaide Golf Club after being hosted by the Glenelg Golf Club for the past 5 years.
The 72 hole Championships which are classified as Australian Amateur Ranking Events, have again attracted a stellar field of local and interstate talent.
SA Amateur Classic
The men’s field features 8 of the top 20 ranked Australian players. Of the 126 men’s entrants, the quality of the field is highlighted by 73 players currently holding a Golf Australia handicap of scratch or better, with Ben Eccles from Victoria Golf Club (VIC) the lowest marker off an impressive +4.2.
Eccles who is ranked 2nd nationally, finished 11th last year and will be looking for a top 10 finish in 2015. Finishing tied 4th at last week’s Riversdale Cup in Victoria, Eccles is in outstanding form after closing with a six-under-par 66.
A total of 62 local South Australian players will do battle against 59 interstate visitors, with 25 players from New South Wales, 18 Victoria, 13 Queensland, 3 Tasmania and 2 from Western Australia. There are also two internationals in the field, from Philippines Justin Raphael and USA Ben Sherlund.
Local hopes will rest with two-time National Junior Champion, Antonio Murdaca from The Grange Golf Club. 19 year old Murdaca, the Asian Amateur Champion will play the Classic as his lead up event to the US Masters.
Murdaca, who has just returned home from a weeks practice at Augusta, will be looking to shoot four low rounds at Royal Adelaide. It will be Murdaca’s fourth Classic, he finished 4th at his first attempt in 2010, missed the cut by one stroke in 2011, was unavailable in both 2012 and 2013 and in 2014 finished 10 strokes behind winner Simon Viitakangas in 7th positon with rounds of 70-75-75-69 (+5).
Jack Williams, also from The Grange, will be another contender after claiming his second SA Amateur Championship title in 2014. Williams finished 7th at the Riversdale Cup.
Any local victory will be hard fought however, with 2014 Keperra Bowl and Queensland Amateur Champion Troy Moses from Bonnie Doon Golf Club in fine form. Moses finished 5th in 2014.
Off the back of a dramatic play-off win at the prestigious Riversdale Cup, Travis Smyth from St. Michael's Golf Club will be looking to replicate “the best win” of his career in Adelaide. He finished tied 13th last year.
And another to watch will be Anthony Quayle from Sanctuary Cove Golf Club. Quayle winner of the
Tasmanian Open in Feb finished 16th last year.
Back at Royal Adelaide in 2015, the Classic was first played in 1985 as the SA Invitational and held for 25 years straight at Royal Adelaide until the switch to Glenelg in 2010.
The last winner at Royal Adelaide was Daniel Nisbet who finished at 13 under (279) 3 strokes ahead of Bryden MacPerson, both current professionals.
The Classic has produced an impressive list of former winners including Brett Ogle (NSW, 1995), Peter O’Malley (NSW, 1996), Stuart Appleby (Vic, 1992), Greg Chalmers (WA, 1994) and Brett Rumford (WA, 1996).
Four South Australian’s have won the Classic: Phil Roberts (1988), Rob Hammer (2000), Brad Moules (2010) and Chris Brown (2012).
Rene Erichsen Salver
The 2015 Rene Erichsen Salver also boasts a quality line-up, with South Australian players accounting for half of this year’s field of 18 players.
8 players currently hold handicaps of scratch or better with Elizabeth Elmassian from The Australian Golf Club in NSW the lowest marker off +2.0.
Nineteen year old Elmassian currently ranked 8th nationally (108 in the world) and this year’s Australian Amateur Runner-up, had a stellar 2014, winning the NT Amateur, Tasmanian Amateur and China Amateur Ladies Open.
Strong competition will come from 25 year old Jo Charlton from Metropolitan Golf Club who is ranked fifth nationally and 178 in the world and 20 year old Queenslander Gennai Goodwin ranked (257 world ranking). Both Goodwin and Charlton finished in a tie for 47th in last week’s NSW Women’s Open.
Glenelg’s Jenny Lee ranked fourth nationally is SA’s local hope. The 2014 Lake Macquarie Champion who represented Australia for the first time in the Astor Trophy in January after gaining citizenship in 2014, finished 4 under and tied 16th in the NSW Open. In three Rene Erichsen attempts Lee has finished 8th, 9th and 12th.
First played in 1967, the Salver has an impressive list of former winners including 5-time winner Jane Crafter, Anne-Marie Knight, Sarah Kemp and current rookie professional star Minjee Lee in 2013.
The Golf SA Amateur Classic and Rene Erichsen Salver will be played from Monday 16th to Thursday 19th March at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
Play commences from 8am Monday and Tuesday with a cut after 36 holes. The leading 60 men plus ties and 18 women plus ties, qualify for the 3rd and 4th rounds from 8.00am Wednesday and Thursday. Entry is free. Spectators are welcome.