World Number 1 Lydia Ko comes to Australia. Photo: USGA
A field featuring over 50 international players from Canada, USA, England, Germany, Scotland, Finland, Japan, France, Singapore, Korea and New Zealand will tee it up against Australia’s best in the 2013 Australian Amateur Championships in Melbourne.
A total of 288 players will head to Melbourne’s sandbelt at Commonwealth and Woodlands Golf Clubs for the men's and women's titles held from 15-20 January, and will contest qualifying over 36-holes with the leading 64 men and 32 women then contesting elimination match play.
The World’s Number 1 amateur female golfer and defending Champion, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko will go into the event as strong favourite, however four-time US Mid Amateur Champion Meghan Stasi will also be a strong force.
The contingent of five players from Japan and Korea will also be hoping to take the trophy off shore, while Australia's World Number amateur 4 Minjee Lee (WA) and World Number amateur 10 Su-Hyun Oh (Vic) will be looking for their first Australian Amateur crown.
The Men’s Championship will have a new winner, with the 2012 Champion Marcel Schneider (Germany) having turned professional.
The four English National players are consistent performers on the world stage, headed by World Number 62 Nathan Kimsey. The 2011 Asian Amateur Runner Up, Korea’s Soo-min Lee will be looking to take the trophy overseas, as will one of the three Japanese players, lead by 2012 Japan Amateur Runner up, Kazuya Higa.
Vaughan McCall will head the New Zealand contingent, while the five-man German National Squad will be hoping to take the title to Germany for the second consecutive year.
Of the Australian players, 2012 Australian Amateur Medalist Cameron Smith (Qld), in-form Brady Watt (WA), and National Squad Member Brett Drewitt (NSW), will all be hoping the trophy remains Down Under.
The youngest player in the field is 13 year old Yumi Matsubara from Japan who plays off a Plus 1.4 handicap, whilst the oldest player in the field is 51 year old Kim Johnson from Long Island Golf Club in Victoria.
The golf is sure to be impressive, with players competing on two of Australia’s best courses. Commonwealth Golf Club is the primary venue and will host the qualifying rounds and the match play rounds, and with it having hosted the 2010 and 2011 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the cream is sure to rise to the top. Woodlands Golf Club will host the qualifying rounds, and with its small greens and tight layout, it is sure to pose a challenge for many players.
Once again, State and International Teams will contest the Ross Herbert National and International Teams Trophies, played in conjunction with the two qualifying rounds.
The Amateur Championships are Australia’s oldest golfing events, dating back to 1894. Past winners include Michael Clayton, Michael Campbell, Matt Goggin, Brett Rumford, Kristie Smith, and Nikki Campbell, and with both champions receiving exemptions into the Australian Open, they are the most prized titles in Australian amateur golf.
Entry is free for spectators with play commencing at 7.30 am on Tuesday 15 January at both Commonwealth and Woodlands Golf Clubs.