Few stars in Perth but contest assured
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2013 The Perth International | Preview | 15 Oct 2013
The Perth International is played this week at the Lake Karrinyup Golf Club in Perth, the event co sanctioned between the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour.
While for the PGA Tour of Australasia it is the first big event (US$2,000,000) of the season, for the European Tour it brings to a close their regular tour season with several golfers needing a good finish this week if they are to be inside the top 110 who regain their status for 2014.
The prize-money on offer this week exceeds that available at the Australian PGA, Masters and Open Championships so the domestic field is a relatively strong one.
The event is being played for the second occasion with Bo Van Pelt returning to defend the title he won last year over Jason Dufner.
The problem for tournament organisers is the lack of elite players in the field but at this time of the year there are just so many conflicting events offering so much in appearance money that to secure higher ranked players is a costly business.
What the event does have however is a great line-up of Australian golfers looking to establish a professional career or in the case of a few to resurrect a career. That in itself should provide a good spectacle.
Van Pelt and Dustin Johnson are the only marquee invitees as such this year but Van Pelt’s season in 2013 has been well below that we saw of him in 2012 and he will need to rely on some positive memories from this event if he is to rekindle the form we saw from him twelve months ago.
Dustin Johnson at 21 in the world is the leading world ranked player while Branden Grace at 41 and Van Pelt at 44 are the others from the top 50. Johnson finished 3rd at the Open Championship but apart form a 9th place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship his form since has been below his best.
Paul Casey and Ross Fisher have both played well in recent weeks and are expected to be good chances. Casey won the Irish Open earlier this year and although he has not contended often of late he is approaching the level of form that saw him as such a factor in many big events earlier in his career. Casey has played well in Australia previously, winning the ANZ Championship several years ago and could be a factor. He plays well internationally with more than half of his 14 professional victories coming outside of Europe.
Fisher, another Irish Open winner, has produced three top tens in his last four starts. He does not win all that often, in fact his win in Ireland in 2010 was his most recent, but he is developing consistency and that often leads to victories.
Leading Australian chances on paper at least could be Marcus Fraser who played quite nicely earlier in the year and in more recent weeks. The Victorian is currently ranked in 47th position on the Race to Dubai money list and is well placed to make it to the Dubai Championship later in the year. Lake Karrinyup is a very ’Australian’ golf course and might well suit him well.
Brett Rumford is not only a local but he is having his best ever season in Europe with two victories and three other top tens. A member at the nearby Royal Perth Golf Club, Rumford will be well aware of the subtleties of Lake Karrinyup and can be expected to do well amongst the Australians at least.
There are just so many Australians in this week’s field who with a very good week could change their careers forever as a victory here would see them with European Tour status. Not only are they emerging players but established players such as Peter Lonard, Nick O’Hern, Nathan Green and Mathew Goggin, who have struggled in the US of late could give their career an extra boost and longevity by contending and possibly winning this week.
Australia’s number one amateur and world number five, Brady Watt played his way to Stage Two of Web.Com Tour qualifying last week and next week will be in China for the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship. In between he tees it up this week and twelve months on from being narrowly beaten at the WA Open, the US Amateur semi finalist will have a lot of local following.