Date: June 24, 2007

Aussie amateurs taking on the world

By Alistair Hogg After a busy first half to 2007 the Golf Australia National Squad has embarked on an exciting northern hemisphere campaign. In the coming months the squad will represent Australia at over 20 events throughout the United Kingdom and the United States with an aim to firmly establish themselves, and their nation on the world amateur stage. The girls began their campaign last week at the home of golf in Scotland. Emma Bennett, Kate Combes and Bree Arthur lined up at St Andrews for the prestigious St Rule Trophy. The challenging 54-hole event boasts former champions such as Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew whilst Australia is yet to claim the title. That almost changed last week however when Kate Combes finished equal second behind Melissa Reid of England. The Victorian opened with a 77 on the new course but found her rhythm on the old course with rounds of 69 and 71 to catapult herself up the leaderboard into second place. It was the best performance by an Australian at the event and an extremely positive sign for the 23-year old. Bennett also performed strongly to finish in 11th, just four strokes behind Combes in what was a packed leader board. The Victorian also opened with a 77 before posting very respectable rounds of 72 and 71. Arthur finished in 48th position and was unable to recover from a disappointing opening round of 84. The girls are now in London competing in the 36-hole Astor Salver before they head north to Leeds for the British Amateur at The Alwoodley Golf Club from June 12. They will then travel to Manchester for the Pleasington Putter, an event which Kate Combes will be defending, as well as contesting tournaments in Birmingham and Belfast before jetting across the Atlantic for an American assault. The girls will play in the Women&aposs Trans Amateur in Kentucky, the North South Women&aposs Amateur at Pinehurst in North Carolina before wrapping up their overseas adventure with the Colorado Women&aposs Stroke Play at Green Gables Golf Club. Like the women, the men begin their overseas campaign at the home of golf with this week&aposs St Andrews Links Trophy. Seven squad members including Australian Amateur Champion Rohan Blizard will line up in the event previously contested by the likes of Ernie Els, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington. On the other side of the Atlantic, four Aussies will be playing in the Sunnehanna Amateur in Pennsylvania. Josh Younger, Ray Beaufils, Michael Foster and Rudi Bezuidenhout will represent their country in the first of their overseas events for 2007 before they head to New York for the Monroe Invitational. The men will then meet in the United Kingdom to contest the British Amateur at Royal Lytham & St Annes from June 18 before the Aussie contingent departs en masse to the United States for nine events including the Dogwood Invitational, Porter Cup and the US Amateur from August 20 for those that qualify. Golf Australia&aposs Director of Elite Player Development, Peter Knight said, “This trip is a real adventure for Australia&aposs up and coming golfers. It&aposs a great opportunity for them to gain more experience against quality players and showcase to the world what they have to offer.” Whilst overseas, National Squad players will be writing a series of blogs outlining their thoughts and adventures from their extensive traveling. Stay tuned to the Golf Australia website for personal insight from our nation&aposs best young golfers in the coming weeks. Overseas Playing Schedule: Women 2-3 June: St Rule Trophy – St Andrews (Old & New Courses), Scotland 6 June: Astor Salver – The Berkshire Golf Club London 12-16 June: British Amateur – The Alwoodley Golf Club, Leeds 24 June: Pleasington Putter – Pleasington Golf Club, Manchester 26 June: Bridget Jackson Bowl – The Handsworth Golf Club, Birmingham 30 June – 1 July: Irish Stroke Play – Clandeboye Golf Club, Belfast 9-14 July: Women&aposs Trans Amateur – Persimmon Ridge Golf Club, Kentucky 16-22 July: North South Women&aposs Amateur – Pine Hurst Golf Club, North Carolina 24-26 July: Colorado Women&aposs Stroke Play – Green Gables Golf Club, Colorado Men 8-10 June: St Andrews Links Trophy – St Andrews (Jubilee & Old Courses), Scotland 7-10 June: Sunnehanna Amateur – Sunnehanna Golf Club, Pennsylvania 13-16 June: Monroe Invitational – Monroe Golf Club, New York 18-23 June: British Amateur – Royal Lytham & St Annes, Lancashire 20-23 June: Northeast Amateur – Wannamoisett Country Club, Rhode Island 25-28 June: Dogwood Invitational – Druid Hills Golf Club, Atlanta 4-7 July: Rice Planters Amateur – Snee Farm Country Club, South Carolina 2-8 July: North & South Amateur – Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina 12-15 July: Players Amateur – Belfair Golf Club, South Carolina 24-28 July: Porter Cup – Niagara Falls Country Club, New York 30 July-5 August: Western Amateur – Point O&apos Woods Golf & Country Club, Michigan 13-15 August: Scratch Players – Olympic Club, San Francisco 20-26 August: US Amateur – Olympic Club, San Francisco