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Australian Amateur Championships underway in Melbourne

Keita Nakajima: in fine form and defending the title he won last year. (Photo: Henry Peters)
The qualifying rounds for places in the Australian Amateur Championship’s Match Play stage are underway at Woodlands and Spring Valley Golf Clubs in Melbourne.

More than 300 golfers have teed it up across the men’s and women’s events, but only the leading 64 men and 32 women will advance to the knockout rounds.

The qualifying rounds are played over both courses before the mach play is held exclusively at Woodlands Golf Club in Mordiallic on Melbourne’s famed sandbelt.

The 2018 men’s champion, Keita Nakajima, is back to defend the title he won when defeating David Micheluzzi last year.

Nakajima has gone on to produce some very impressive results over the past 12 months including a runner-up finish at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, 5th at the Australian Open and runner-up behind Chun An Yu at last week's Master of the Amateurs at nearby Royal Melbourne.

Australia’s Micheluzzi, is the highest world ranked player in the field and is expected to do well, having also finished 5th at the Australian Open, as are New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier and New South Wales’ Blake Windred.

Amongst the women’s field, last week’s Women’s Master of the Amateurs champion Stephanie Kyriacou will be looking to continue her great form as will the in-form Grace Kim who won the Annika Sorenstam tournament in New Zealand prior to Christmas and finished 3rd behind Kyriacou last week.

Julienne Soo, who was runner-up last week, and Becky Kay, who three months ago finished 6th at the Espirito Santo tournament in Ireland, are other Australians who could feature.

SIGNATURE HOLES: 18TH AT COOLANGATTA TWEED HEADS - WEST (NSW)

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