Strong line-up at Australian PGA

The Australian PGA Championship Presented by Coca Cola gets underway on Thursday with the strongest domestic field of the season lining up in what has become the "˜must play' event on the Australasian Tour schedule.

The Robert Trent Jones Jnr layout at the Hyatt Regency Coolum on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland plays host to the event for the 9th consecutive year, that continuity allowing the event to establish itself as arguably the pre-eminent event in Australian golf.

The Australian Open might still be Australia's most significant title and the J.B. Were Masters, with the involvement of Tiger Woods, has regained some lost ground but in the meantime the Australian PGA Championship has become a hugely successful event.

The revised Trent Jones layout incorporates six newly created holes combined with 12 from the previous routing and was used for the first time in 2009. It was generally well received back then and with a further twelve months to mature there is little doubt there will be even greater acceptance this week.

The main concern for tournament organisers is the big wet in South East Queensland at present, although today there was little evidence other than a golf course that was very soft underfoot.

The skies were blue and the weather typically humid but the rain had gone - at least for the moment.

Tomorrow's PRO-AM which looked in jeopardy earlier today now looks a certainty to proceed and provided there is no addition to the nearly 100mls of rain which feel over the last few days at Coolum then the event will get underway on time at 6.00am on Thursday.

The event has attracted six of Australia's leading nine internationally ranked players headed by Adam Scott who at number 21 sits just ahead of Robert Allenby in those rankings. Allenby returns from his 7th place finish at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa last week seeking a successful defence of the title he won last year.

Allenby has yet to win anywhere in 2010 but he has been so consistent with eight top tens in that time that a repeat victory and a 5th Australian PGA Championship would not surprise. He is the player to beat it would seem.

Scott had what could be described as a disappointing week last week at the Australian Open but is likely be more at home on these greens than was the case last week. A month ago he dominated a much stronger field than this in Singapore and if he can find similar form on the greens he could be a threat.

Geoff Ogilvy arrives off the back of his superb victory at the Lakes last week. It is never an easy assignment wherever you play to win two events in a row but such is the relaxed nature of the environment this week that it could happen.

When asked what he had done since his win in Sydney Ogilvy responded, "I have not done a lot. The family came up here on Sunday and I came up on Sunday night to spend some time with them. Yesterday I just hung out with the kids and actually went for a surf in the rain. I will practice this afternoon but it has been nice to have a day and a half off."

Ogilvy's first Australian victory this week came in this very event and he also finished 7th in the tournament last year.

Richard Green arrives at Coolum after a fine season on the European Tour where he finished 21st on the money list and won in Portugal. He took a week off after Dubai could well be a surprise package this week.

The tournament brings to an end the 2010 PGA Tour of Australasia's money list and with a change by the PGA Tour of Australasia for just two events in any one season to be eligible for money list honours then any one of twenty players have a mathematical chance of taking the honours. Geoff Ogilvy with A$306,900 leads the way at present after his 8th place at the Masters and his win last week. He is 28,000 ahead of the Australian Masters winner, Stuart Appleby, and $104,000 ahead of New Zealand Open champion Bobby Gates.

The tournament also brings to an end the One Asia Tour money list where Liang Wenchong could go past the current leader Y.E. Yang with a victory this week.


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Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf 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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