Date: April 21, 2007
Author: Alistair Hogg

Aussies Around The World: Weekend Preview

By Alistair Hogg A modest field of 12 Australians is currently competing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Played at TPC Louisiana, the par-72 course is back in action this year following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina that uprooted close to 2000 trees and inundated fairways with water. The course was closed for 10 months forcing the Tour to go elsewhere however $2.4 million later, the PGA Tour returns to New Orleans. The course re-modelled course received a resounding thumbs up from many players during the practice round. The changes forced upon TPC Louisiana by Katrina are felt in various ways. First and foremost, wayward drivers need not worry much as playing out of the trees and rough will be easier given the &aposthinning out&apos by the hurricane. However on some holes, the alternations have made it a far more challenging course to play. The PGA Tour website best explains one of the new obstacles facing players. “When toppled cypress trees were hauled away, course officials saved the lumber, embedding vertical planks into what look like green-and-tan-striped bulkheads rising from water hazards near the ninth and 17th greens. They also used the salvaged wood for new tee signs and yardage markers. On the par-3 No. 9, the bulkhead replaced a bunker that had surrounded the left side of the green. So those who fall short on their 200-yard tee shots this year will likely hear the sound of the ball knocking on cypress, followed by a splash.” The best-placed Australian at last year&aposs event was Stuart Appleby who shot a 15-under to finish equal-fourth, four behind defending champion Chris Couch. Appleby is absent from the 2007 Zurich Classic but 12 willing, capable countrymen are currently in Louisiana hoping to become the first Australian to break through and win the event. Australians entered in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans Steve Allan Steven Bowditch Gavin Coles Steve Elkington Matthew Goggin Paul Gow Nathan Green Mark Hensby Stephen Leaney Peter Lonard Jarrod Lyle Michael Sim Also on this weekend is the BMW Asian Open in Shanghai, China. A total of 12 Aussies are entered in the field, aiming to become the first Australian to win the event. The par-72 course is especially challenging given that water features heavily in 14 holes. Peter O&aposMalley will have fond memories of the course having recorded a hole-in-one at the eighth hole in the 2005 Open. The New South Welshman ended up finishing at two-over the card, some way behind winner Ernie Els at 26-under. The South African won the event by a massive 13-shots which is the second biggest winning margin in European Tour History. Australians entered in the BMW Asian Open at Tomson Shanghai Pudong GC, China Scott Barr Adam Blyth Marcus Both David Bransdon Tony Carolan Gavin Flint Scott Hend Adam Le Vesconte Matthew Millar Peter O&aposMalley Brett Rumford Kane Webber