Natadola Bay hosts Fiji International
BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2014 Fiji International | Preview | 12 Aug 2014
The PGA Tour of Australasia plays a new event this week when the Natadola Bay Golf Course in Fiji, hosts the $US1 million Fiji International event co sanctioned with the OneAsia Tour.
The tournament has attracted invites, Vijay Singh, Nick Price, rising Indian star Anirban Lahiri and prolific Japan Tour winner, Brendan Jones, along with a typical OneAsia / Tier 2 PGA Tour of Australasia event field.
Singh and Price need no introduction both having won major championships and Singh playing on home territory this week on a golf course he was involved in the design of. His design background has increased considerably since this course was established five years ago but most who play the layout speak very favourably of its strategic and aesthetic qualities.
57 year old Price plays the Champions Tour these days where he has won four titles although not since 2011 and his recent form is poor.
Singh has recently joined the Champions Tour but continues to play well enough in PGA Tour events when he does play including when making the cut at the Canadian Open and at last week’s PGA Championship. That he is originally from Fiji should ensure he gets a good following.
It is always difficult to know just how players such as Singh and Price will impact the tournament come Sunday afternoon but their presence and profile will play a big part in the promotion of the event in the lead up to Thursday.
Jones is on the comeback trail after wrist injury and surgery late last year. He has played one of two events of late in Japan and gives the indication that the recovery is progressing nicely.
Jones was inconvenienced a little this week when his clubs and gear failed to arrive with him but things are expected to be back to normal by Wednesday’s pro am.
27 year old Lahiri is a four time winner on the Asian Tour and currently leads the 2014 money list on that tour after finishing 3rd last year.
New Zealander Michael Hendry has developed into one of the better players on the PGA Tour of Australasia and now into his second season on the Japan Tour he continues to improve. He has won several events on the PGA Tour of Australasia, including the New Zealand PGA Championship on two occasions and has won on the OneAsia Tour so his class and local knowledge will take him a long way this week.
Hendry has often been a visitor to this part of the world and knows this golf course well.
Scott Strange, Nick Cullen, Gareth Paddison, Andrew Dodt, Matthew Griffin, Dimitrios Papadatos and Andrew Dodt are other very talented players currently entered who could contend.
Nathan Holman has played Challenge Tour events in Europe in recent weeks but is considered by many to be one of Australia’s bright young hopes. He is coming to the end of his first 12 months in professional golf and has put together several very good tournaments already. He might be a bit jet lagged this week but if he is ready to play it would not surprise to see him do well.