Aussie Player Has Options


MELBOURNE, Australia -- If former Australian Davis Cup player Scott Draper has an early exit from next month's Australian Open tennis championships, he can always put away his racket and pull out the golf clubs.
Draper, who has played off a golf handicap of plus 1 for the past 18 months, finished 12th in a field of 80 on Friday and was one of 37 golfers to gain his playing card for the Australasian Tour for 2005.
He shot a 1-over-par 73 to finish at 289, 1-over par at Melbourne's Peninsula Golf Club.
The Heineken Classic golf tournament at Royal Melbourne follows the Australian Open tennis tournament in January and early February of next year -- the Australian Open begins Jan. 17 and the Heineken Classic on Feb. 3.
Although Draper, 30, will have exempt status on the secondary Von Nida tour and some Australasian Tour events, he will need a sponsor's invitation to get into the Heineken, a jointly sanctioned event with the European Tour.
Draper has not decided how many golf and tennis tournaments he will be able to play. But a persistent knee injury means golf will likely get the nod.
'I still love tennis but it's frustrating when your body won't do what you want it to do,' Draper said Friday.
'I'll give them both a try and if I have to give one the flick it will probably be the tennis.'
Draper said he may also try to gain a players' card for the Asian Tour.
Nick Flanagan of Australia, the 2003 U.S. Amateur champion, had a shaky finish but was among the those to get his card. Flanagan shot a final-round 78 to finish at 4 over after earlier rounds of 72-70-72.
Overseas players to gain their 2005 cards were Matthew Woods of England, who finished at level-par 288 and tied for ninth, American Eric Egloff, tied for 22nd, and England's Nicholas Redfern, tied for 30th.
American Paul Venckus, England's Stuart Cartwright and Japan's Toshiyuki Wasa, Shusaku Sugimoto, Kazuaki Funabashi and Daichi Masuoko were the international players who did not qualify.
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