Golf Australia

#AusAm: We're now a global concern

Lydia Ko
Lydia Ko hoists the 2012 Australia Amateur trophy en route to her amazing professional career that has taken her all the way to No.1 in the world.

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Women: Live scores & tee times

It’s safe to say the Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts, is making waves around the world.

The concurrent men’s and women’s championships have recently and consistently been one of the final stepping stones to the world’s largest tours – think Michael Campbell, Greg Chalmers and most recently US PGA Tour star Cam Smith on the men’s side and dual champion Minjee Lee and world No.1 Lydia Ko on the women’s.

But there’s more.

Where once the event mostly attracted the best from Australia and its near neighbours, it now attracts the absolute cream of the world’s best amateurs.

And if you don’t believe us, check out these incredible facts about this week’s event at Yarra Yarra and Peninsula Kingswood: this week’s fields contain the reigning title-holders of the US boys’ amateur (Min Woo Lee), US girls’ amateur (Eun Seong Jeong), US women’s amateur (Eun Seong Jeong), British Amateur (Scott Gregory) and European Amateur (Luca Cianchetti) championships.

If not for an invitation to the Singapore Open as the winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, in Curtis Luck we would likely also have the winner of the Asia-Pacific Am and the US Amateur Championship.

That’s incredible for a tournament played out of season on the other side of the world to most of the world’s top-ranked amateurs.

The #AusAm’s growing global reputation – and the chance to play on truly world-class courses – has drawn players from 19 countries – Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, USA and Wales – this week.

A total of 354 entries were received despite tight handicap limits of 1.0 for the men and 3.4 for the women, meaning 42 players were balloted out of the event.

Gregory is one of a strong English team that was runner-up to Australia at the Eisenhower Trophy in September, spearheads a deep men’s field.

The English contingent also features the impressive Marco Penge, Alfie Plant and Brad Moore, who all improved during the recent Australian Master of the Amateurs as they found their Sandbelt feet at Royal Melbourne and have since been playing around Melbourne in preparation.

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, the world No.11, will attempt to emulate countryman Connor Syme’s success last year in this event, while Welshman David Boote, the world No.28, should also feature prominently.

Italian world No.39 Cianchetti will also be part of a bold European contingent hoping to beat a strong local brigade.

The Aussie flag will be flown by world No.20 Harrison Endycott and his fellow New South Welshman Travis Smyth (No.50) who’ll be looking to go one better than his runner-up finish in 2016.

Others tipped to be prominent are Lee, Zach Murray, fellow Victorian David Micheluzzi, New South Wales pair Dylan Perry and Blake Windred and newly crowned AMOTA champion, Charlie Dann of the Sunshine Coast.

The women’s field is also packed with talent.

A supremely strong Korean contingent should again feature, with world No.6 Hye-jin Choi, a member of the dominant Espirito Santo Trophy team, a hot chance.

Her compatriot Eun-Jeong Seong, the world No.11, has already recorded a top-20 finish at the LPGA Tour’s KEB Hana Bank Championship and will be tough to beat.

And with her match play prowess – Seong became just the third to repeat as the US girls’ champion last year and the first to win the women’s and girls’ titles in the same year – she could well be the nominal favourite.

And that challenge will be taken up by a strong Aussie group headed by Karis Davidson and Becky Kay, both in form and members of the dominant Queensland Interstate Series winning team. Tahnia Ravnjak, of Wollongong, is a name to keep handy this week on her return from a strong collegiate career in the United States, while Japan has fielded an excellent squad, arguably led by Suzuka Yamaguchi.

Expect, too, a strong showing from the Swinging Skirts-backed Taiwanese team with rapid improvements coming from the national squad in recent events.

Swinging Skirts is a presenting partner of the Australian Amateur Championship with its support designed to give young Taiwanese players the opportunity to train and compete at the highest international levels.

It is the first time in the club’s history the championship will be held at Yarra Yarra Golf Club on Melbourne’s Sandbelt, while the Kingswood Course at the newly formed Peninsula-Kingswood Country Golf Club plays co-host for the second consecutive year.

The stroke play component of the event will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at both courses, with the top 64 men and 32 women advancing to the match play phase from Thursday-Sunday at Yarra Yarra.

And with the respective champions receiving exemptions into the Emirates Australian Open and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open later in 2017, the titles have truly become one of the world’s great amateur prizes.

Men: Live scores & tee times  
Women: Live scores & tee times

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