18 Oct 2022 | Amateur golf |

Australian Senior Amateur returns with new look

by Dane Heverin

Defending champions David Bagust and Sue Wooster are confirmed starts in a strong field for this week's Australian Senior Amateur.
Defending champions David Bagust and Sue Wooster are confirmed starts in a strong field for this week's Australian Senior Amateur.

The Australian Senior Amateur is back this week with men and women to feature together at Launceston Golf Club in Tasmania from October 19-21 as the event returns to the Australian Golf calendar for the first time since 2019.

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, men and women will play on the same course at the same time for their respective titles for the first time in the event’s history.

The tournament will be contested over 54-holes stroke play in a shift away from the previous iterations which included a stroke play component before progressing to match play.

A strong field has been assembled with women’s two-time reigning champion Sue Wooster and men’s defending champion David Bagust confirmed starters.

Victorian Wooster is looking to become the third ever woman - after Syliva Donohoe (2007-09) and Fay Payne (1994-96) - to win three consecutive national titles and she comes into the event in impressive form.

The National Golf Club member chalked up wins in Europe and the United States of America, as well as making the final of the US Senior Women’s Amateur for the third time in her career, during the northern hemisphere summer after two victories on home soil earlier in the year.

More recently, Wooster earned runner-up honours at the Victorian Senior Amateur where she was beaten in a playoff by fellow Victorian Nadene Gole.

Gole has the best handicap of any male or female in the event at +2.3 - Wooster is second best at +2.1 - and she has two wins from two starts in World Amateur Golf Ranking events this year.

The Victoria Golf Club member played professionally on the WPGA Tour of Australasia, Ladies European Tour and the Japan Women’s PGA from 1989 to 2005 and she has only recently entered the senior amateur ranks.

Past women’s champions Jacqui Morgan (2012 & 2017), Sharon Dawson (2015) and Josie Ryan (2013) will also be in action, while the men’s field includes multiple previous winners too.

New South Welshman Bagust is joined by two-time champions Greg Rhodes (2015 & 2017) and Gordon Claney (2014 & 2018) in looking to add to their trophy cabinet this week, and he enters the week off the back of finishing runner-up in his home state’s Senior Classic in each of the past two years.

Rhodes meanwhile has the best handicap of the men at +1.1 and he is one of 11 men in the strong field who boast a plus handicap.

Three of those 11 plus handicappers - Tony Chettleburgh, Brent Paterson and Peter Brinsdon - hail from New Zealand adding the Trans-Tasman rivalry to the mix.

Australians Peter Beard, Drew King, Brad Dowling, Robbie Berne, Mark Allen and James Lavender fill out the remainder of that list and they will all be ones to watch out for when play commences.

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