Date: October 04, 2016
Author: Tony Durkin

Adam returns home for Open

Fifteen-year Brisbane Golf Club member Adam Crawford is flying in from England to play the 2016 Isuzu Queensland Open simply because it is being played at his club.

Crawford is the best known of a smattering of BGC members who will be teeing it up in the Open, the first played at the club since Stuart Appleby won the event as an amateur in 1991. Among them is last year’s leading amateur in the Open, Jake McLeod, who has since turned professional.

Crawford and McLeod will be joined in the field at the 120-year-old Brisbane Golf Club from 20-23 October by another recently-turned professional Aaron Wilkin and burgeoning Queensland amateurs Charlie Dann, Shae Wools-Cobb, Steven Cox and Louis Dobbelaar – all BGC members.

Now living in England after three years playing the Tour in the US, Crawford will be competing in the Open for the third time. He has been a member at Brisbane since 2001, playing the course regularly over the past 15 years when returning home from his commitments in the US, Europe and on the Australasian PGA Tour.

“I am only coming home to play the Queensland Open because it is being held at Brisbane Golf Club,” he said.

“It’s a great club and so many people there have been very good to me. I owe it to them to support the event.

“And from what I hear, the recent changes made to the course are fantastic. I am really looking forward to seeing them, and playing the course during the Open.”

A winner of the NSW Open in 2011, Beaudesert-born Crawford had a career-high world ranking of 326 following his fifth placing in the Australian Masters at Huntingdale in 2002. He last played the Queensland Open in 1999, at Nudgee, and finished third behind Shane Tait.

The 22 year-old McLeod is currently ranked 28th on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit and two weekends ago finished second in the South Pacific Open Championship in New Caledonia. He was beaten in a play-off by Adam Blyth after they both finished on 12-under.

McLeod was placed fourth and was the leading amateur in the 2015 Isuzu Queensland Open, which included a sizzling third round five-under 67, followed by a final round 68.

Just prior to last year’s Open he won his second Queensland Amateur Championship, becoming just the second player to do so since world No.1 Jason Day 25 years earlier.

Aaron Wilkin (24) is ranked 47th on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit. He recorded his best finish of his career at the PNG Open this year, finishing equal second.

But arguably his most memorable round since turning professional was his course-record 10-under 62 during the NSW Open at Stonecutters Ridge last year.

Wilkin is in his second year as a professional and often hones his skills at BGC, the new home of the QAS Golf Academy. He enjoyed a stellar amateur career which included three years in the Queensland State Team, one as captain. But being a part of the winning Queensland team at the 2013 Australian Men’s Interstate Series has been his proudest golfing moment.

Current Queensland State Team members and BGC members, Charlie Dann, Shae Wools-Cobb and Steven Cox, come into the Open on the back of some outstanding recent performances.

Three weeks ago in Perth Dann won his first national ranking event with victory in the highly-rated Mandurah Amateur. The 23 year-old shot back to back three-under par rounds of 68 to be the only golfer under par on the final day, and finish at eight-under for the tournament.

Recent strong performances in both the Queensland Amateur and the Queensland Men’s Strokeplay championships, where he finished fourth and fifth and respectively, followed his second at the Lake Macquarie Amateur and third at the Master of the Amateurs, at Royal Melbourne.

A close friend of Dann, Wools-Cobb beat his mate to the Mandurah Amateur title, winning it last year and claiming his first national ranking event. He was also runner-up in the Queenslander Amateur last year.

The second national ranking event victory for the 20-year-old came in May this year, shooting 12 under to win the Northern Territory Open. He finished as a quarter finalist in this year’s Australian Amateur at Metropolitan in Melbourne in January and was fourth in the Queensland Men's Stroke Play Championship at Pacific Harbour in August.

Earlier in the year Steven Cox competed in the Lake Macquarie Amateur, NSW Men’s Amateur and NSW Matchplay Championship with success, finishing 29th, 2nd and 4th respectively. He also finished third two weeks ago in the Gary Player Classic, culminating his final round with an albatross on the par five18th at Pacific Golf Club.

During IFAA-Club Super-sponsored the Legends Tour ProAm at BGC in August, he smashed his drive an incredible 325 metres on the par-five ninth hole, virtually forcing organisers for the Open to convert the hole to a par five.

Louis Dobbelaar won the 15 and under title at the same 2016 Gary Player Classic. During the final round he trailed the overnight leader by six shots with eight holes to play, but came home with five birdies on the closing nine holes, dropping a monster birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff. He then birdied the second play-off hole to win.

At 15, Dobbelaar is expected to be the youngest in the field but has been playing well both in Australia and overseas. He was recently tied 12th in the US Players Amateur at Berkeley Hall Club in South Carolina.

Golf Queensland's Golf Operation Manager and Isuzu Queensland Open Tournament Director, Luke Bates, expects Dann, Cox, Wools-Cobb and Dobbelaar to make the most of their home ground knowledge.

“They spend a lot of time at The Brisbane Golf Club where they are members and also train there with the QAS squad, so will no doubt use that to their advantage,” Bates said.