Date: November 15, 2006

National Squad’s boost

Golf Australia&aposs just-announced 2007 National Squad of junior amateurs has received an extra boost, with the 22 stars of tomorrow joined in practice rounds at Royal Sydney by several of Australia&aposs leading golfers. Defending champion Robert Allenby, 2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy and world No.3 Adam Scott were among those who completed their final preparations for this week&aposs MFS Australian Open alongside the likes of Rick Kulacz and Frances Bondad. Having come through similar programs in their formative years, today&aposs stars Allenby, Ogilvy and Scott were only too happy to give some of their time and expertise to help give the youngsters&apos games an extra lift. The 14 young men and eight young women will contest major amateur events including the National Selection Trials and Australian Amateur Championships, with the results of those events deciding subsequent Australian teams. There are 11 newcomers in the 2007 squad, joining 11 who have been retained from this year, and two each of the men and women will be United States-based for the first time, attending college there. As well as playing on the Wednesday with today&aposs stars, the 22 youngsters also spent time with Ogilvy on Monday and the females either participated in the pro-am or helped with the organisation of the event on Tuesday. Nine of the 14 males in the program have also earned places in this week&aposs tournament, with Jamie Arnold, Rudi Bezuidenhout, Rohan Blizard, Stephen Dartnall, Andrew Dodt, Richie Gallichan, Kulacz, Tim Stewart and Josh Younger all qualifying. Kulacz is fresh from his stunning win of the New South Wales Open last weekend at Moore Park Golf Course in Sydney, while Bezuidenhout, Blizard, Gallichan and Younger are among the new additions to the 2007 squad. The men&aposs squad also includes Ray Beaufils, Michael Foster, Aaron Pike and the US-based Bronson La Cassie and Ben Pisani, while Bondad is joined by Bree Arthur, Emma Bennett, Kate Combes, Stephanie Na, Sarah Oh and American-based duo Kristie Smith and Alison Whitaker in the women&aposs squad.