Date: January 05, 2011

Strong field to line up for SA Junior Masters

The cream of South Australia s junior golfing talent will be on display this week, when the 14th Golf SA Junior Masters tees off at Royal Adelaide Golf Club on Thursday morning. The 2011 Championship, a Golf Australia Junior Boy s ranking event, has attracted a strong field of 57 players, including 7 girls who will compete for the first time in the events history. With last year s Junior Masters having been reduced to 36 holes due to extreme January summer temperatures, a favourable Adelaide forecast for this week should see the 2011 tournament revert to its traditional 72-hole format over the two days, Defending champion Anthony Murdaca, the current Australian Junior Boy s Champion who won the Golf SA Junior Open held at Mt Lofty and Thaxted Park in late December, should again be the player to beat in the boys division. Murdaca (The Grange) certainly isn t short of marquee tournament experience of late, having impressed with a solid performance at December s Australian Open in Sydney where he missed the cut by a single shot. Other players in recent good form include local Royal Adelaide player Ben Stowe, who won the first junior open event of the summer season at The Grange, and December s Junior Opens runners-up Matthew Lisk (The Grange) and Kieren Barrett (Thaxted Park). There will also be much interest in the performance of 2010 Victorian Boy s Amateur leading qualifier Jake Laubsch (The Grange) who has recently relocated to Adelaide. Despite it s obvious prestige as a national junior ranking event, the Junior Masters hasn t proved a happy hunting ground for local players in recent years. Anthony Murdaca s victory at the event last January broke a lean run of success for South Australian juniors who had only tasted success at the tournament once previous, courtesy of SA professional David Lutterus victory back in 2003. Other former winners comprise an impressive roll call of current professionals including inaugural winner Adam Scott (QLD, 1998), Andrew Buckle (QLD, 2000), Mark Leishmann (Vic, 2001) and Rick Kulacz (WA, 2002). The local s task won t be made any easier this week with the inclusion of 12 interstate representatives significantly strengthening the tournament field. Notably these include the experienced pairings of Tasmanian s Ben Elliott and Dane Hibberd and Western Australians Lukas Michel and Jarryd Felton. Anthony Murdaca and Ben Stowe will represent South Australia. The girl s division should prove to be an interesting battle between Rachel Taylor (Mt Osmond), who completed a comfortable win at the Mt Lofty / Thaxted Park Junior Open, and Jenny Lee (Glenelg) who emerged victorious the preceding week at The Grange. The 2011 Golf SA Junior Masters is open to all junior male and female amateur golfers who are under the age of 18 on the first day of the event, within the handicap limit of 8 for boys and 18 for girls. The first group will be teeing off at 7am Thursday 6 January with the lower handicap players teeing off first. Thursday s second round starts from 11:30am.