Date: February 05, 2012

Northerly curtain raised for spectacular stage

If the weather forecasts are true, the field assembled this week probably won t see conditions like Royal Melbourne endured on Sunday. The fierce northerly, which found its teeth just before lunchtime, gave the course a change of face the likes of which the Presidents Cup players experienced last November. Trees began to bend like rubber, sand was rasped out of bunkers and those players who ventured out to find their feet on this famous layout were sandblasted by a hot wind which at times made people unsteady on their feet. Players including four-time champion Karrie Webb, Lorie Kane and rookie Jessica Korda spent time coming to grips with the layout before heading for the relative shelter of the clubhouse. In the space of half an hour after lunch, the gritty northerly disappeared into the heavy clouds. With the wind coming from the south, the temperature dropped suddenly and good rain fell on the course after the morning baking. It was a classic example of Melbourne s four seasons in a day. The forecast for the week is promising. It is unlikely to pack the vicious summer heat that February in Melbourne can bring and should be in the mid to late 20s for the week. With southerly winds predicted, the players will have the power behind them as they take on Royal Melbourne s superb par 4s. But, for a few hours on Sunday across this famous layout, the northerly wind gave those who ventured out a taste of the medicine it can hand out.