OPEN SALUTE: Chris Downes celebrates his equal second in the Australian Open at Moonah Links in December.  Picture: AAP
OPEN SALUTE: Chris Downes celebrates his equal second in the Australian Open at Moonah Links in December. Picture: AAP

The ups, Downes

By STEVE SPINKS

IT MIGHT be a good weekend not to be an amateur at this Sunday's $22,000 Lismore Workers Club and Professional Investment Services Pro-Am, if the list of attending golfing professionals is anything to go by. An illustrious list of US, European and Japanese tour card holders will be playing this weekend headed by last year's Australian Open runner-up Chris Downes. Downes, who holds a US Tour card, burst onto the Australian golfing scene last year after he came from nowhere to claim equal second with Stephen Leaney behind Peter Lonard at Melbourne's Moonah Links. 'Class act' "He is a class act," Lismore Workers Golf Club professional Peter Jaeger said. "I played with him a couple of years ago when he was an amateur and there was something about him then. "He made the quarter-finals of the US Amateur." European card-holders Terry Price, Steve Bowditch and Scott Gardner will also be there. Bowditch in particular could be spectacular to watch if recent events are anything to go by. "He hits the ball scary long," Jaeger said. "I saw him play at a Pro-Am last week and he went in a long drive competition. "Of his three measured shots, the first found 319 metres, the second 327 metres and the third made 341 metres. "Put it this way, that's why I'm playing in a group behind him and not in front ... I don't own a crash helmet." Japanese tour card-holders Anthony Gilligan and Brad Andrews will also be there as will defending champion Ryan Haller from Queensland and former topline professional Lucas Parsons. Jaeger believes this year's field is stronger than 2003. The weekend will start with a Golf Expo on Saturday from noon-5pm involving 10 companies. There is no admission fee and two professionals will conduct a clinic at 3pm. The main event on Sunday has two shotgun starts. The first group will begin at 7am with the main group, involving most of the higher profile professionals, teeing off at noon.



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