Date: September 28, 2015
Author: Tom Fee in Hong Kong

Davis sees no mystery at Clearwater

What a difference a year makes.

When Royal Melbourne hosted the 2014 Asia-Pacific Amateur, pre-tournament discussion focused on a significant home-course advantage for the Australians.

A year on, the Aussie contingent faces an unknown quantity in the mysterious Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club in Hong Kong.

When asked what he thought about the course at Perth Airport, WA's Jarryd Felton admitted he had "no idea", and Woolongong's Travis Smyth echoed those sentiments.

"I had a look online and couldn't find a thing, apart from a couple photos on google images. The course seems very exclusive," Felton said.

NSW and Golf Australia squad member Cameron Davis provided a bit more insight, expecting a pleasant surprise for the Australians when they arrive for their Tuesday practice round.

"It looks like the course will play a lot differently to the ones I have played previously (in Asia)," Davis said.

"From what I've heard, it's more like an Australian course. It plays a lot firmer and faster than what you would expect for the region and is a bit wider off the tee."

The Aussie style layout should come as no surprise, with a significant course redesign performed by five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson in 2006.

With Thomson an honourary member of Royal Melbourne, there is already a strong link between Clearwater and last year's event – which crucially produced Australia's only winner in six attempts through South Australian Anthony Murdaca.

Clearwater Bay has also drawn comparisons to another iconic Australian golf course in the NSW Golf Club, with a signature third hole featuring a sharp dogleg right over a cliff face tee that flirts with the South China Sea below.

Of the 10 highest-ranked golfers in the field, five are Australian. These include three from last year's top 10 in Murdaca and Victorians Ryan Ruffels and Lucas Herbert.

Davis, as the current Australian Amateur champion, is also fronting as one of the favourites.

In fact, the Monash Golfer has the perfect resume to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur. Davis first launched himself on to the scene with a win at the 2012 China Amateur, and this form on Asian soil continued with a semi-final appearance at the 2013 Japan Amateur before making the cut at the Japan Open.

"I'm sure I'll come across a lot of the guys I've played against in those events and I draw confidence from every success I've had," the big Sydneysider said.

Having competed in the world's top amateur events, Davis feels there is little that compares to the Asia-Pacific, which is jointly run by the "Green Jackets" of the Augusta Golf Club, and the R&A.

"(The Masters invite) is such a good incentive to play well, I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"This event is huge. I've played a lot of high-quality tournaments with a lot of big names, but I guess that the reward for winning here is as good as it gets."

That reward would make Davis the third straight Australian amateur to start at The Masters after Oliver Goss and Murdaca.