Date: February 28, 2011

Stellar field assembles for Australian Amateur

A first-class field will embark on Melbourne s sandbelt next month for the 2011 Srixon Australian Men’sand Women’s Amateur Championships. The women’s field is headed by two young New Zealand superstars who currently hold the second and third spots on the Women&aposs World Amateur Rankings. 13-year old Auckland resident Lydia Ko recently finished leading amateur at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, after finishing runner up at the NSW Women&aposs Open. She will be joined by compatriot Cecilia Cho, defending champion of the Srixon Australian Women’s Stroke Play, and who only four weeks ago finished fifth overall at the ANZ/RACV Ladies Masters. The Australian contingent will be led by National Squad members including Ashley Ona (Qld), Jessica Speechley (WA), Brenna Elliott (Vic) and 14-year old Minjee Lee (WA). Ona won the ActewAGL Royal Canberra Ladies Classic on the ALPG Tour in January while Elliott won the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship. The Men’schampionship includes a host of international talent, led by New Zealand s Ben Campbell (WR#17), who finished runner up in last year s Srixon Australian Amateur, and tied fourth in the individual component of the 2010 Eisenhower Trophy, and is sure to be one of the favourites. Two of Japan s leading players – Shinji Tomimura and Mitsumasa Tamura will also compete on the sandbelt. Neil Raymond and David Coupland will represent England, while Chien-Yao Hung and Chi-Hsien Hsieh are Chinese Taipei s leading players. Flying the flag for the Australians are 17-year old pair Cameron Smith (Qld) and Jake Higginbottom (NSW), while Eisenhower Trophy team member, Bryden Macpherson (VIC) will make the trip back from college in Georgia to play in his home town. With both of last year s Amateur champions having turned professional, the door is ajar for two new champions and both winners will receive exemptions into the respective Australian Opens. Over 300 players will contest the men’s and women’s events, including players from New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Malaysia, Singapore, USA, and Belgium. The Women’s Stroke Play will be played over four rounds at Huntingdale Golf Club from 16-19 March, while the men will contest four rounds from 17-20 March at Victoria and Woodlands Golf Clubs. The leading 32 men and 32 women will then contest elimination match play at Victoria Golf Club from 21-23 March. State and international teams will contest the Ross Herbert National and International Teams Trophies, played in conjunction with the first two stroke play rounds. Ross Herbert was the inaugural head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport Golf program and pursued the highest ideals of personal integrity as a tour player, coach, friend, colleague, father and husband. Ross passed away in January 2001 at the age of 42. The Amateur Championships are Australia s oldest golfing championships, dating back to 1894. Past winners include Michael Clayton, Michael Campbell, Mat Goggin, Brett Rumford, Kristie Smith, and Nikki Campbell. Entry is free for spectators.