Queensland Open attracts good field
BY Bruce Young | 26 Aug 2014
The Isuzu Queensland Open continues its resurgence this week when the event is again staged at the Brookwater Golf Club at Springfield Lakes some twenty kilometres west of Brisbane although part of Ipswich City.
After a six year break while the tournament organisers Golf Queensland pursued sponsors and venues, the Queensland Open returned to the PGA Tour of Australasia in 2013 when South Australian lefthander Nick Cullen took the title by five shots over Peter O’Malley.
Brookwater Golf Club boasts an outstanding Greg Norman designed layout and is the centrepiece of the huge and rapidly expanding Springfield Lakes development.
The tournament is known as a Tier 2 level event, that category dictated by prize-money of which $110,000 is up for grabs this week.
While the prize-money level is low by modern days standards the field assembled is full of some of the most talented emerging players in Australasia along with many more experienced and established professionals.
Players such as the defending champion Cullen along with Michael Sim, Jake Higginbottom, Andrew Dodt, Ryan Fox, Gareth Paddison, Rhein Gibson, David McKenzie and last week’s Fiji International winner Steve Jeffress are currently entered to take their place in the field.
Joining them will be several of Australasia’s leading amateurs including Taylor MacDonald, Aaron Wilkin, Antonio Murdaca, Simon Viitakangas, Viraat Badhwar and Cameron Davis have received invites, the opportunity to play in events of this nature seen as a key part of honing their games for a possible future in the professional ranks.
Cullen is back to defend his title this week and although his form in 2014 has not been at a level he is capable of it is perhaps not far below the form he was displaying leading into last year’s event when taking his first PGA Tour of Australasia title.
Higginbottom, who won the 2012 New Zealand Open as an 18 year old amateur, finished runner-u in Fiji recently and is generally considered a player of immense promise.
Dodt is a Queenslander who has played the European Tour until recently but is now focusing his attention on the Asian Tour and with that Tour taking a break he is in a position to attempt to win his own State title.
Fox and Paddison are two highly credentialed New Zealanders with Paddison already a holder of several events of this nature including the Victorian Open and the Victorian and Queensland PGA Championship titles.
The long hitting Fox finished runner-up at the Queensland PGA Championship earlier in the year. Fox has put together several good finishes in 2014 including a 6th place at both the New Zealand Open and the Fiji International. If he can harness his great power around this layout he has a chance to do well.
Gibson, originally from Lismore, won last week’s Meriton Invitational on the Gold Coast, finished 4th behind the likes of Rory McIlory and Adam Scott at last year’s Australian Open and made the cut at this year’s Open Championship but perhaps his main claim to fame to date is that he recorded a round of 55 in a social round of golf on a par 71 layout in the US two or three years ago.
The event offers free admission, the crowd expected to be a significant increase of that which turned up last year for the resurrection of an event won by some of Queensland and Australia’s greats.