2004 Hillross Australian Open boasts quality field

BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2004 Australian Open | General | 07 Oct 2004
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The 2004 Hillross Australian Open marks the centenary staging of Australia’s greatest golf event and will have a stellar field for the occasion. Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Michael Campbell, Craig Parry, Stephen Leaney and defending champion Peter Lonard top the entry list for the historic championship to be played at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney this November.

Two-time Australian Open champion Aaron Baddeley, Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling and Nick O’Hern will also be competing at the Australian GC from November 25-28 for the Stonehaven Cup. It is fitting that the Australian GC will be hosting the championship as the first Australian Open was played there in 1904.

Allenby and Appleby have nine US PGA Tour titles between them, and both also possess an Australian Open title. Appleby triumphed at The Grand in 2001 while Allenby won at Royal Sydney in 1994. Appleby has won twice in the US over the past 12 months – the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational and the 2004 Mercedes Championship – and has shot to 13 in the world rankings. While Allenby has had a season hampered by injury, he is still ranked 31 in the world.

Lonard and Leaney, who are both now based in the US, tussled hard for the 2003 Australian Open title at Moonah Links before the consistent Lonard prevailed by a stroke for a well-deserved victory. Leaney, a multiple winner in Europe and now ranked inside the world’s top 50, was runner-up in the US Open last year as well, and may feel his luck is due to change in Open championships this November.

It may be a surprise to many golf fans, but Parry is still waiting for his first Australian Open title. The popular Parry almost won at the Australian GC in 1990 before bowing out in a playoff to John Morse. He tied for second in the 2002 Open and finished third in 1997. In 2002, Parry ended his long wait for a US Tour title with a win at the WGC-NEC Invitational, and spectacularly added a second US title this year by holing a six-iron for eagle on the first playoff hole to win the Ford Championship at Doral. He will be out to fill another famous gap in his impressive golf resume when he returns to the Australian GC later this year.

Campbell, the talented New Zealander, has won on the European Tour on six occasions, and has had plenty of success in Australia starting with the Australian Amateur title back in 1992. He would love to add the Hillross Australian Open championship to his collection.

Arnold Palmer, the 1966 Australian Open champion, will travel to Sydney after having accepted an invitation from the Australian Golf Union to attend the centenary championship. On Wednesday November 24, Australian golf fans will have the opportunity to see Palmer and three-time Australian Open winner Peter Thomson team up with two other players (whose names are to be confirmed) in a unique exhibition match at the Australian GC. The match will commence at 2pm and last nine holes.

Palmer and Thomson will also be attending the Australian Golf Open Centenary Dinner presented by the NSW Government on Friday November 26. Other past champions will join them at this occasion to be staged in a luxurious marquee at Fleet Steps in Sydney.

Source – IMG

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