WA Open has many storylines
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2013 John Hughes Nexus Risk Services WA Open Championship | Preview | 09 Oct 2013
The John Hughes Nexus Risk Services West Australian Open continues the West Coast Swing for the PGA Tour of Australasia this week when it gets underway on Thursday at the Mt Lawley Golf Course just a few kilometres north of the CBD of Perth.
The event was played last year at Royal Perth and won by the brilliant teenager, Oliver Goss, who is now playing collegiate golf in the US and who in August finished runner-up at the US Amateur.
Goss defeated another West Australian Amateur in a playoff for the title last year when he edged out Australia’s Brady Watt although Watt is not in this week’s field. Watt is at the First Stage of Qualifying for the 2014 Web.Com Tour at his venue in Texas but will be back in Perth next week.
Watt, who made the semi-finals of the US Amateur Championship, will play next week’s Perth International before teeing it up alongside Goss at Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in China the following week.
The event has however has attracted a relatively strong field despite clashing with the OneAsia Tour event in China this week including the return of one of WA’s favourite golfing son’s Nick O’Hern.
O’Hern has lost his status on the PGA Tour but will be eligible for Web.Com Tour events in 2014 and has taken the chance to return to his home state ahead of the bigger events on the PGA Tour of Australasia over the next two months.
Another former PGA Tour player in the field is Peter Lonard, a winner of the Heritage Classic on the PGA Tour and a player with three Australian PGA, two Australian Open and three Australian Masters titles to his name.
Lonard is the most credentialed of the players in this week’s field but he has struggled over the past two years following injury issues to both his knee and back which required surgery.
Lonard began to play well towards the end of the Web.Com Tour season but it was a case of too little too late and he will now be required to return to the Second Stage of Qualifying for the Web.Com Tour which he will be able to do and yet still play most of the Australasian Tour events.
Other players expected to be amongst the favourites are Web.Com Tour players, Ashley Hall, Adam Crawford and James Nitties, Hall and Crawford in particular coming off good seasons in the US.
One player who will have his share of local attention is Michael Sim who has battled injury issues over the past two years after a career on the Web.Com nd PGA Tours. At his best Sim has shown he is a player competing and contending at the highest level.
Recently turned professionals Nathan Holman and Brett Drewitt both played well in Kalgoorlie last week and their further progress will be watched with interest.
Also of interest in the event will be the appearance of the Australian Women’s Amateur Champion and world number three women amateur, Min Jee Lee, and another highly talented WA lady golfer, Hannah Green.
The WA Open is likely to provide an intriguing lead-in to next week’s US$2 million Perth International which is co sanctioned between the European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia