Lonard won by the narrowest of margins, one stroke, over Stuart Appleby at the 100th Australian Open last week. Peter Senior is the defending champion.
Among others in the field will be U.S. regulars Corey Pavin and Bob Estes, and Aussie superstar Greg Norman. Adam Scott will participate, along with Craig Parry, Nick OHern, Michael Campbell, Stephen Leaney, Rod Pampling and John Senden.
Australian players have dominated circuits like the Nationwide Tour, we have had multiple winners on the U.S. PGA Tour and the Australians in Europe have been very consistent. Estes and Pavin will have their work cut out to win against our best. However you can never count out players of their quality, tournament director Rod Leembruggen said.
Campbell is a player who has gone through a disappointing season.
Michaels form has been very up and down through this season Leembruggen said. He would be very disappointed with 2004; however I hope we have the winning formula. He has played in approximately six events that I have directed, won two, finished second at his first start as a professional and never finished lower than twentieth. He is a wonderful talent and back in the right time zone will be hard to hold out.
Lonard and OHern need no introduction to the crowds at Coolum. Two years ago, Lonard holed a monster put on the 18th green to tie Jarrod Moseley and OHern posted his first Tour win with victory in the Coolum Classic of 1999.
The only major title in Australia that has eluded Lonard has been the Heineken Classic. OHern has been a solid if not spectacular performer in Europe throughout the season posting numerous top 10 finishes.