Stars shine again at 2006 Victorian Open
BY iseekgolf.com | Von Nida Tour | 2006 Victorian Open | Final Round | 05 Feb 2006
As final round of the 2006 Victorian Open gets underway at the beautiful Woodlands Golf Club, the depth of talent currently present in Australian Golf is again illustrated by every player being under par.
While to the casual observer the field may lack the marquee names synonymous with big-time golf, there are many young players competing this week that will undoubtedly go on to successful careers. In the years to come, we will watch many of them in the early hours of April or July contending for the sport’s biggest prizes.
The slogan for the Vic Open is ’Where Stars are Born’ and it was at this course in last year’s event that Nathan Green lost a thrilling play-off to Kurt Barnes. Green has since go on to gain a US Tour Card, start spectacularly with a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods at the Buick Invitational last weekend and prizemoney of US$650,000 in just his first month.
This morning the talented Scott Laycock and David Diaz will take to the course leading at 10-under par with 32-year-old 2002 Australian Open Champion Steve Allan chasing hard at six-under. However the quality of the field goes well beyond these tour stalwarts.
Aron Price from New South Wales, who enjoyed a tremendous amateur career on the US College scene before turning professional late last year is at eight-under. The ACT’s Andrew McKenzie, who first came under notice when he won the medal for leading qualifier at the 2002 Victorian Amateur, also starts the day on the same figure.
Further back in the field 23-year-old James Nitties, runner-up at the 2004 Australian PGA, is at five under while World Junior Amateur Champion Jason Day is a further shot behind. The sublimely talented Marc Leishman from Warrnambool, another rookie professional who finished runner-up at last week’s Victorian PGA is three-under but gaining valuable experience in his first year in the pay for play ranks. A closer look at the draw for the final day will reveal many other quality players of this ilk.
As a much younger man, I remember attending the 1983 Australian Open at Kingston Heath. At the time, there was a belief that the field lacked quality. The title was won that year by Peter Fowler who has gone on to carve out a successful career both locally and in Europe. The runner-up was a young Queenslander by the name of Ian Baker-Finch. An inspection of the finishing order from the event will also reveal countless ’unknown’ professionals that went on to great careers.
As the years fade, a look back at the field in the 2006 Victorian Open will create similar reflection. If you’re not busy today, take a trip to White Street, Mordialloc and see the future of Australian Golf for yourself. Entry is just $5 for adults and free for children under 16. The course is not roped, so you can even get close to the players and see how all the shots are played. If you’re a golf lover, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Source – Victoria Golf