European Tour Remains in Australia for ANZ Championship


The European Tour remains Down Under for one more event this week as the circuit co-sanctions and aligns itself with the Australasian Tour for the ANZ Championship.
This is the third straight event which has officially counted on both tours. First, South African Retief Goosen won the Johnnie Walker Classic at Perths Lake Karrinyup Country Club. Then Goosens countryman Ernie Els took the Heineken Classic at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Now, Australias own Peter Lonard attempts to defend his title from 2001 at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney. Unfortunately, many of the big names ' Els and Goosen included ' will not be in attendance.
Both men will be taking a week off in preparation for the upcoming WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship later in the month.
While they will be sorely missed for another run in Australia, there should be plenty of quality golfers to fill the void. Costantino Rocca is in the field, as are Pierre Fulke, Robert Karlsson, Craig Parry and Nick OHern.
Also in attendance this week will be local youngster Aaron Baddeley. Baddeley is quite familiar with the layout at the Lakes Golf Club as well, as it was the venue of his first professional victory at last year's Greg Norman Holden International.
Additional young talents joining Baddeley will be American stars Bryce Molder and Nick Cassini.
Lonard will be hoping for the kind of performance that he put on last year, when he fired a final-round 66 to beat out Nathan Green by one shot at 15-under-par.
Up for grabs this week is a total purse worth over $900,000. Following this event, the European Tour takes a week off before traveling to Singapore for the Caltex Singapore Masters.