Two of Australia's most decorated senior golfers will spearhead quality fields at next week's South Australian Senior Amateur Championships in Naracoorte.
Reigning champion Greg Rhodes returns to defend the title he won en route to his fourth consecutive Australian Senior Order Of Merit crown last year.
And Helen Pascoe will play Naracoorte Golf Club for the first time with her eyes firmly on winning her first national women's OOM title.
Rhodes, of Mildura and Coomealla, has won almost every possible event on the senior circuit in the past five years, but is facing an OOM threat this year, sitting third as the national championship nears. Rhodes, who plays off a handicap of +1.7, has won two of the four events he's played in this year's series – in Tasmania and Queensland – but will need to press hard to catch Ken Brewer and Gordon Claney, neither of whom will be in the 63-deep men's field at Naracoorte.
Chief among his rivals will be South Australian John Davey, another off a handicap of better than +1, who represents the Tea Tree Gully Golf Club.
Pascoe, despite a stellar senior resume including victory in this event last year at Loxton, has not won the women's OOM and is determined to change that in 2019. The Buninyong ace, who plays off a handicap of just 1.5, will start warm favourite in Naracoorte with wins in Western Australia and Tasmania already under her belt this year in building a comfortable buffer atop the standings.
"It's been my goal all year to be able to represent Australia against New Zealand next year … and to do that, you've got to be (prominent in) the Order Of Merit," Pascoe said.
"It's the highlight of senior women’s golf to represent your country.
"I've done a lot this year with the aim of getting into that team to head to NZ and it's chosen after the Australian Championship in Nelson Bay, in October.
"So if I can play well in Naracoorte and (then next) in Victoria, I will hopefully give myself a good chance of doing that."
Pascoe won the decisive point in the final match when Australia hosted the Kiwis in the inaugural trans-Tasman challenge at The Grange in Adelaide last year.
"It was just a great week … I'd love to do it again," she said.
"I've not played in Naracoorte before, but I've heard it’s a nice course and it definitely looks quite nice, a beautiful parklands course.
"I'll just play a practice round on Sunday and hopefully get a good feel for it."
The South Australian Men’s & Women’s Senior Amateur Championship is an Australian and South Australian Senior OOM event played over 54 holes of stroke play.
The women's event is now in its sixth year, while the men's was first played in 1952 when it was won for the first of a record 15 times by Dick Foot.