Players battle horrific conditions at Royal Sydney

BY Bruce Young | Australasian PGA Tour | 2006 Australian Open | Round One | 16 Nov 2006
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Nathan Green Interview
***Audio by Bruce Young

Nathan Green and Lyle have returned from exceptionally good years on the USPGA and Nationwide Tour’s respectively. Green had a brilliant rookie season and Lyle has now graduated to the USPGA Tour just two years after turning professional.

Richard Green has returned from yet another fine season in Europe being runner up in the Netherlands and third in both Dubai and at the Johnnie Walker Classic. He is a player who appears to be on the brink of another good season in Australia and with his old caddy Stuart Dryden back on the bag he appears to be enjoying having that association being rekindled.

Late in the day, Peter Lonard, who has won this event in two of the last three years, was steadily going about his business in the blustery late afternoon winds. When he birdied the par five 13th from 7 feet, he had moved to 2 under and appeared to be the only player capable of getting close to the early morning stars by the end of the day. Lonard has always been known as a good wind player and his performance this afternoon further confirmed that.

2003 Australian Amateur Champion Andrew Martin has only recently turned professional and his round of 71 in such demanding conditions was impressive for one of his relative inexperience.

Also at 71 was the Queenslander Ryan Haller, who has a prolific record in one day pro-ams and two round events but has as yet won only one four rounder. He is a talented player however and if, and when, he puts together four solid rounds then he could contend at a much higher level than he has been until now.

Steve Bowditch’s round of 72 was to be admired given that he comes off a last round of 87 in Shanghai last week. He has had his issues both on and of course this year in fact both inter-related but there are some positive signs for him in his opening effort here.

Nick O’Hern is at one over 73 along with many others and gave every indication today that he might yet be a factor in this event.

Of the pre tournament favourites, Adam Scott did best with his round of 74 and although not a great start he is not yet out of it. Neither is Stuart Appleby at 75 but the sentimental favourite, although not the logical favourite, Greg Norman, was round in 79 and if he is to have any chance of making what is looking like a high cut he will need to produce a round of perhaps 73 tomorrow. Certainly not out of the question and he will have the combined urgings of the tournament organisers to help keep him in the event for the weekend.

That day one was even completed was a significant and pleasant surprise given the horrors of the morning weather.

An improvement in the conditions tomorrow should see the anticipated crowds flocking to the Royal Sydney course. They came and went today after being buffeted by the weather but there is a strong sense that a little help from above will quickly alter the fortunes of this event.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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