Date: April 12, 2007
Author: Alistair Hogg

Aussies Around The World: Weekend Preview

By Alistair Hogg Aaron Baddeley returns to Harbour Town Golf Links this weekend as defending champion of the Verizon Heritage. Last year the 26-year old fired three sub-70 rounds to finish one shot clear of American Jim Furyk. His score of 15-under was the lowest winning total in eight years and in doing so, became the youngest winner of the tournament since Davis Love III won as a 23-year old in 1987. He also became the second consecutive Australian to win the event after Peter Lonard&aposs triumph in 2005. Lonard will also take his place in the field this week. After last week&aposs high-scoring Masters, players will be faced with similar tests at the Jack Nicklaus designed South Carolina Course. Despite its comparatively short length to other courses on the PGA Tour, the tree-lined fairways at Hilton Head are extremely narrow and the greens and small with subtle breaks. Any player that can drive the ball straight and find greens in regulation will be among the leaders this weekend. Baddeley will go into the tournament with some work to do to get back on track after a disappointing Masters campaign last week. He finished with 19-over but to be fair, not many fared better. The Augusta layout was one of the toughest in years and eventual champion Zach Johnson tied the highest winning total of 289. However only two players in the last 30 years have finished in the Top-10 at Augusta National and gone on to claim the Verizon Heritage the following week. So if history has anything to say about it, Baddeley&aposs Augusta slump should have little impact on his performance at Hilton Head this week. US Open champ Geoff Ogilvy will also take to the fairways, as will experienced campaigners Rod Pampling and Nick O&aposHern. Eleven Australians are entered in the 2007 Verizon Heritage and if one of them can win it will mark an historic third consecutive win for an Aussie in a single event on the PGA Tour. Australians entered in the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head, South Carolina Aaron Baddeley (defending champion) Gavin Coles Steve Elkington Matthew Goggin Nathan Green Mark Hensby Stephen Leaney Peter Lonard Nick O&aposHern Geoff Ogilvy Rod Pampling John Senden A twenty strong field of Australians including Peter O&aposMalley will be in action in Shanghai this week at the Volvo China Open. O&aposMalley finished equal-eighth in last year&aposs event at six-under, one behind Jarrod Lyle and Peter Fowler who were the best placed Australians but will not be playing this week. O&aposMalley was also among the best Aussies in last month&aposs Singapore Masters, finishing in a tie for 14th at seven-under. The par-71 course will prove a challenge for all competitors with undulating greens and the many water hazards certain to make an impact on scoring this week. Australians entered in the Volvo China Open at Shanghai Silport GC, China Scott Barr Adam Blyth Marcus Both David Bransdon Tony Carolan Gavin Flint Marcus Fraser David Gleeson Adam Groom Scott Hend Brad Kennedy Adam Le Vesconte Peter O&aposMalley Matthew Millar Unho Park Terry Pilkadaris Brett Rumford Gary Simpson Scott Strange Kane Webber Karrie Webb will lead a small but talented field of Australians at the Ginn Open in Florida this week. The Queenslander finished equal-second last year alongside Lorena Ochoa, two strokes behind winner Mi Hyun Kim. Webb enters the tournament after finishing equal 20th as defending champion in the Kraft Nabisco Open at Mission Hills. The 33-year old will be joined by Lindsey Wright, Katherine Hull and Rachel Hetherington. The winner in Orlando this week receives automatic qualification into the LPGA season ending ADT Championship. Australians entered in the Ginn Open at Reunion Resort & Club, Florida Karrie Webb Rachel Hetherington Katherine Hull Lindsey Wright