Five Australians face 307 other US Amateur hopeful
BY Bruce Young | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2005 US Amateur Championship | Preview | 19 Aug 2005
Of the five Australians who will attempt to qualify for the match play phase of the US Amateur at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania starting on Monday August 22nd, there is little doubt that Graham Banister is the odd man out.
At age 48, Banister is 28 years older than his nearest fellow Australian, 20-year-old Michael Sim. Banister is based in Raleigh in North Carolina and is President/CEO of RMS, Inc. a US University Student Card facility company. Last year, he competed in his first competitive golf tournament in 25 years and finished second at the North Carolina State Mid-Amateur. He once finished second to Greg Norman in the 1972 Queensland State Junior Championship in Australia.
Banister finished runner up at his qualifying venue in Connecticut and takes his place in the field alongside fellow Australians Sim, Andrew Dodt, Tom Davis and David Lutterus, all of whom are in the middle of an extensive summer of amateur golf in the US.
312 golfers are left after more than 7200 original entries. There were just 21 golfers who were exempt from the pre-qualifying battle, the rest making it through here via the various pre-qualifying that takes place throughout the USA. Of those 312 players only 64 will make it through to the match play phase which begins on Wednesday following the 36 hole qualifying. The Philadelphia Golf Club will also be used in the first two rounds of stroke play.
The first US Amateur Championship was staged back in 1895 when 32 players fought it out with Charles McDonald having a rather comfortable 12 & 11 victory. Last year the title was won by Ryan Moore, who has recently turned professional and in 2003, Nick Flanagan became the only Australian to win the event when he beat Casey Wittenburg.
This will be the sixth time that the US Amateur has been played at Merion. The 6840 yard Hugh Wilson designed, Tom Fazio restored, layout has once previously seen an historic Australian victory when David Graham won the 1981 US Open. Can another Australian find glory here? Michael Sim, who has played brilliantly this summer in the US, is the most likely of the four to do so.
Photo – Anthony Powter