A full field of 144 players, 117 men and 27 women will compete for South Australia’s premier Amateur Golf Championships, the Golf SA Men’s Amateur Classic and Women’s Rene Erichsen Salver partnered by W Sports & Media.
The Championships played concurrently from Monday 21st to Thursday 24th March will be played at Royal Adelaide Golf Club for a second year after being hosted by the Glenelg Golf Club from 2010-2014
The 72 hole Championships which are classified as Australian Amateur Ranking Events, have again attracted a stellar field of local, interstate and overseas talent.
SA Amateur Classic
The men’s field features 8 of the top 20 ranked Australian players. Of the 117 men’s entrants, the quality of the field is highlighted by 66 players currently holding a Golf Australia handicap of scratch or better, with Curtis Luck from Cottesloe Golf Club (WA) the lowest marker off a remarkable +5.2.
19 year old Luck, who is ranked 12th nationally, is in good early season form after finishing tied fourth at last week’s Riversdale Cup and tied 31st at the Victorian Open in February.
A total of 42 local South Australian players will do battle against 70 interstate visitors, with 22 players from Queensland, 19 New South Wales, 17 Victoria, 8 Western Australia, 3 Tasmania and 1 ACT.There are also five internationals in the field. Two Europeans, Anze Leskovar from Slovenia and Alessandro Noseda from Switzerland. And three players from Asia, Yu-chung Huang and Wei-jie Lin both from Chinese Taipei and Yuki Ikeda from Japan.
Local hopes will rest with Matthew Lisk from The Grange Golf Club and Lachlan Barker from Glenelg.
Lisk gained a start in the Emirates Australian Open last November after firing a seven-under par 65 to win through via qualifying, gaining valuable experience. Barker is the current SA Men’s Amateur Champion and Junior State Team Captain.
SA’s Sam Earl is another player to watch, Earl finish tied 5th with Lisk last year and is currently ranked 49th in the country. Another SA challenger is sure to be Scott Ready from Flagstaff Hill who fired a third round 6 under 66 at Riversdale to move to 10 under, but couldn’t keep the form going, fading in the final round.
Any local victory will be hard fought however, with Harrison Endycott from Avondale Golf Club in NSW, the form player in the country. Endycott, 19, last week claimed the prestigious Riversdale Cup to go with a win at Lake Macquarie in January and is all-set to improve on his 11th place finish at the Classic last year.
“It’s a great feeling to win – I really want to win all the time,” Endycott said after Riversdale.
Travis Smyth from St. Michael's Golf Club in NSW will be another looking for success in Adelaide. Having finished 19th and 13th the past two years and seventh at Riversdale, Smyth should be right in the mix.
Others to watch are 16 year old Fred Lee and Min Woo Lee 17 years, both from Western Australia. Fred won the WA Amateur in March and Srixon Junior in July 2015 and Min Woo (brother of world number 17 Minjee) the Aaron Baddeley Junior International in San Diego in December.
Back at Royal Adelaide for a second straight year, the Classic was first played in 1985 as the SA Invitational and held for 25 years straight at Royal Adelaide until a switch to Glenelg for five years from 2010.
Last year’s winner at Royal Adelaide was Antonio Murdaca who finished at 11 under (277). Murdaca fired rounds of 70, 70, 67, 70 to win by seven strokes. Murdaca turned professional in October 2015.
The Classic has produced an impressive list of former winners including Brett Ogle (NSW, 1995), Peter O’Malley (NSW, 1996), Stuart Appleby (Vic, 1992), Greg Chalmers (WA, 1994) and Brett Rumford (WA, 1996).
Five South Australian’s have won the Classic: Phil Roberts (1988), Rob Hammer (2000), Brad Moules (2010), Chris Brown (2012) and Antonio Murdaca in 2015 one month prior to competing in the US Masters.
Rene Erichsen Salver
The 2016 Rene Erichsen Salver also boasts a quality line-up, with seven South Australian’s doing battle against 18 interstaters and two players from Japan, here with Golf SA State Coach Gareth Jones, who also doubles as Japan National Coach.
11 players in the field hold handicaps of scratch or better with Japanese entrant Riri Sadoyama, the lowest marker off +4.1.
Eighteen year old Robyn Choi currently ranked 4th nationally had a strong finish to 2015, winning both the girls and Women’s Queensland Amateur Championships and should be right in contention.
Strong competition will come from NSW duo Chizuru Ueda and Sophie Cusack who are nationally ranked seventh and ninth respectively.
18 year old, Oliva Kline from Victoria is another to watch and has winning form at Royal Adelaide over 72 holes winning the 2015 SA Junior Masters.
Grange players Kristalle Blum and Ella Adams are two of SA’s main hopes. Both players are capable of low scores and would be after a consistent four round effort. Adams finished 7th last year, a fine result for a 15 year old and Blum is set for a fine week after being tied second after the first round of last month’s Oates Victorian Open, her first pro event.
First played in 1967, the Salver has an impressive list of former winners including 5-time winner Jane Crafter, Anne-Marie Knight, Sarah Kemp and current rookie professional star Minjee Lee in 2013.
The Golf SA Amateur Classic and Rene Erichsen Salver will be played from Monday 21st to Thursday 24th March at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club.
Play commences from 8am Monday and Tuesday with a cut after 36 holes. The leading 60 men plus ties and 21 women plus ties, qualify for the 3rd and 4th rounds from 8.00am Wednesday and Thursday.
Entry is free. Spectators are welcome.