Date: January 10, 2011

Field vies for three spots at IFQ – Australasia

Courtesy: R&A Australian veterans Peter Senior and Peter O Malley, both of whom won on the PGA Tour of Australasia at the end of last year, will go in search of a place in the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George s at International Final Qualifying (IFQ) on Tuesday. Senior and O Malley will arrive at Kingston Heath Golf Club looking to secure their 19th and 12th appearances, respectively, at golf’s oldest Major Championship. A field of 51 players will play 36 holes in one day at the Melbourne Sandbelt course, scene of the 2009 Australian Masters. The top three finishers will earn a place at The Open, to be played at Sandwich for the 14th time from 14-17 July. 51-year-old Senior won his third Australian PGA Championship in December, after defeating Geoff Ogilvy in a play-off to become the event s oldest champion. At St Andrews last year, the three-time PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner made the cut and finished tied-60th, having earned a place on the Old Course at IFQ. And the Queenslander will be eager to secure a return to Sandwich, the site of his best Open Championship finish, a tied-fourth in 1993. The IFQ for The Open Championship in Australia is a great opportunity for all Australian players to play in what I believe is the best tournament in the world, said Senior. Last year, it was great to have it at St Andrews where it is always exciting and full of atmosphere, but this year the players are in for a real treat as we head back to Royal St George s, which I&aposm sure will throw up its own unique challenges to all of the players lucky enough to get through the qualifying. In 11 Opens, Peter O Malley, 45, has produced two top-ten performances, at Royal Troon in 1997 and in 2002 at Muirfield. Though his most recent appearance came at Troon in 2004, he will take his place at IFQ confident of success having won the New South Wales Open at the end of November, following a play-off with Tom Lewis, the British amateur who won the Boys Amateur Championship at Royal St George s in 2009. The Open is the best championship in the golfing calendar. It is the one tournament I want to play every year. I would look forward to playing at Royal St George s if I was to qualify, said O Malley. Royal St George s is a great test of golf, very demanding off the tee, which suits my style of golf. Completing a quartet of long-established players will be 44-year-old Craig Parry and Peter Fowler, 51. Parry, who has taken part in 18 past Opens, has a best finish of tied-fourth at Carnoustie in 1999, while Fowler is a veteran of 12 previous Championships. The trio of Alistair Presnell, Adam Bland and James Nitties represent the next generation of Australian talent, and all three will be tipped to earn their place at Royal St George s on Tuesday. 31-year-old Presnell, who has yet to make his Open debut, is the highest-ranked player in the field. Like Presnell, Nitties, 28, will also be aiming to secure a first Open appearance, while Bland, who finished one stroke off the lead at November s JBWere Masters, is eager to contest a second Open, having last played in 2006 at Royal Liverpool. Players will have a practice day at Kingston Heath today, Monday 10 January, before competition begins on Tuesday, with the first group teeing-off at 7:30am. The draw can be found online at End-of-round, hole-by-hole scores and full reports will appear on throughout the event.