Date: December 12, 2008
Author: Steve Orme at Royal Sydney

Rankin soaks up experience

Little-known amateur Brett Rankin won&apost be around for the weekend after posting rounds of 75 and 83 in his maiden Australian Open appearance, but the man who replaced injured world No.16 Adam Scott at the 11th hour could not be happier. The 22-year-old Queenslander was rushed into the star-studded field on Wednesday morning when Scott was forced out with a knee injury. Adding to the excitement of simply teeing it up at Royal Sydney was the news he would be thrust into the spotlight alongside defending champion Craig Parry and 2001 winner Stuart Appleby. And the reality lived up to the dream. “It was quite an experience, I thought it was awesome,” Rankin enthused. “I had a lot of fun out there today even though I shot 83, when you&aposre playing with Craig Parry and Stuart Appleby it&aposs a pretty good experience really.” Speaking at the completion of his second round, Rankin, who charmed the Sydney galleries with his amiable demeanour, paid tribute to his high profile playing partners. “Appleby was awesome, he always had a couple of jokes with me and had a laugh and Parry was very supportive and asked me a few questions about coaching and things like that,” he said. “They were both very supportive and I have the utmost respect for them.” While admitting to a few butterflies on the first tee in round one, the likable youngster insists he felt at home on the big stage. “I was a little nervous but not as nervous as I&aposve been before, I&aposve been more nervous in other tournaments but after the first hole was done I was pretty much right,” Rankin said. Asked what he will draw from his first taste of the big time Rankin said without hesitation: “The first nine holes I played yesterday I felt I belonged at the tournament and I felt like I hit the ball just as good as those guys.” “The most I got out of those two was their consistency off the tee, I don&apost drive the ball anywhere near as consistently as they do, and also their demeanour around the golf course – how they go about doing their job.&apos “There&aposs a few little things I pulled out of it which was pretty good and I&aposve also got some stuff I&aposve got to work on.” As for the immediate future, the lanky right hander has his sights set on the professional ranks. “I&aposve got a bit of time off now for the next month and after that I&aposve got a pretty busy schedule in the next six months with (amateur) tournaments next year and then I&aposll start getting myself ready for Q-school (on the Australasian and Asian Tour),” he said before vowing to return for the 2009 Australian Open.