Australian amateurs excel in qualifier
THE future of Australian golf looks healthy with amateur players bagging six of the last eight spots in the Australian Open field from Monday qualifying.
In three qualifying sites across Sydney, amateurs Louis Dobbelaar, Justin Morley, Harrison Crowe, Hayden Hopewell, Jack Thompson and William Bayliss secured the 11th-hour exemptions into the 144-man Open.
Queensland’s Dobbelaar, 18, birdied the last two holes for a 65 to lead the three qualifiers at Carnarvon Golf Club.
Club professional Anthony Choat (68) and Sydney’s Crowe (68) were the two other qualifiers from Carnarvon.
Dobbelaar’s talent has been nurtured recently by Cameron Smith, an Australian star on the US PGA Tour, with the pair coached by Queensland guru Grant Field. Smith has flown Dobbelaar to Florida to practise with him as part of Smith’s scholarship.
“It feels surreal,” Dobbelaar said. “It’ll be an awesome week. There’s some really good names out there, so it’ll be great to be amongst them. “I remember watching it (the Open) as a kid and to be playing in it is pretty special.”
Promising Western Australian amateur Hopewell shot 65 at Glenmore Heritage Valley to qualify alongside Adelaide’s Thompson and teaching pro Michael Smyth.
The third qualifying site was Ryde-Parramatta, with amateurs Morley and Bayliss securing the two Open spots played with 71s.
The qualifiers will tee off tomorrow at the 104th Australian Open, which will boast one of the strongest fields in eight years.