AUSTRALIAN AMATEUR SCORES A field featuring over 50 international players from Canada, USA, England, Ireland, Japan, Canada, Singapore, Fiji and New Zealand will tee it up against Australia s best in the 2012 Australian Men’sand Women’s Amateur Championships which begin on Tuesday. The new look event, which sees qualifying over 36-holes with the leading 64 men and 32 women then contesting elimination match play, will be played on Melbourne s sandbelt at Woodlands and Huntingdale Golf Clubs from 17-22 January. The 2011 champions, Ashlee Dewhurst (Tas) and Matt Stieger (NSW) will be back to defend their titles, while last year s runners up, Minjee Lee (WA) and Ben Campbell (NZL) will be hoping to go one better in 2012. Campbell will be looking to make it third time lucky having been the runner up in the 2010 and 2011 Championships. Campbell s fellow compatriots from New Zealand, World Number 1 Lydia Ko and World Number 3 Cecilia Cho will be two of the favourites in the women’s event, alongside Singapore s Charlotte Thomas fresh from her win in the Victorian Amateur in December. 2011 Australian Girls Amateur Champion Cathleen Santoso (NSW) and Victoria s Su Hyun Oh, the youngest player to ever contest a Women’s Australian Open will also feature. Three of the top six ranked female Japanese players will also contest the event. The men’s field is just as impressive, with British Amateur champion Bryden Macpherson, Australian Stroke Play and Junior Champion Cameron Smith (Qld) and Jake Higginbottom (NSW) sure to feature. The men’s international contingent will feature English National Team Members Neil Raymond, Ben Loughrey and Ashley Chesters, while the Irish National Squad will make an appearance in Australia for the first time in a decade. Taihei Sato will fly the flag for Japan. The youngest player in the field is 13 year-old Ryan Ruffels from Victoria Golf Club who plays off a Scratch handicap, whilst the oldest player in the field is 49 year old Russell O Callaghan from Mount Lawley Golf Club in WA. Woodlands Golf Club is the primary host and will host the qualifying rounds and the match play rounds. Huntingdale Golf Club will host the qualifying rounds, and with its history as a championship venue, it will be a test for many players. Once again, State and International Teams will contest the Ross Herbert National and International Teams Trophies, played in conjunction with the two qualifying rounds. The Amateur Championships are Australia s oldest golfing events, dating back to 1894. Past winners include Michael Clayton, Michael Campbell, Matt Goggin, Brett Rumford, Kristie Smith, and Nikki Campbell.