READY TO ROLL: David Merriman chips on to the green during a tournament on the Queensland Fraser Coast. Merriman will tee off at Byron Bay today as the defending champion in the Australian Legends Schweppes Tour Championship.
READY TO ROLL: David Merriman chips on to the green during a tournament on the Queensland Fraser Coast. Merriman will tee off at Byron Bay today as the defending champion in the Australian Legends Schweppes Tour Championship. Alistair Brightman

Defending champ Merriman will have his work cut out at Byron

DEFENDING champion David Merriman will have his work cut out in the Australian Legends Schweppes Tour Championship at Byron Bay.

The three-day tournament at the Byron Bay Golf Club starts today with one of its best fields in recent years.

Merriman is originally from New South Wales but now lives and plays most of his golf in Queensland.

He won the first PGA Tour seniors event at Byron Bay in 2007.

Australian Masters champion Peter Senior will look to continue his impressive record at the event.

He has won it all four times he has competed including back-to-back wins in 2012 and 2013.

The 56-year-old was aiming for a hat-trick last year before he was forced to pull out with a shoulder injury in the lead-up.

He is coming off a disappointing result in the Australian PGA at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast last weekend where he missed the cut after the second round.

Senior first won at Byron Bay in 2010 and played just after he had just won the Australian Open in 2012. Meanwhile, former British Open winner and PGA Tour player Ian Baker-Finch is back for the first time since 2012.

Baker-Finch spends most of his time now as a a television commentator but has played in the event a handful of times.

He had one of the most dominant wins in 2011 when he won by six strokes.

There will be more than 70 PGA Legends professionals this year.

A large field of amateurs has entered for the pro-am part of the tournament.

Byron Bay club champion Matt Crandell has been one of the top performing amateurs in the past.

American Mark Sherman will add an international flavour to the competition in his first trip back since 2011.

Byron Bay club professional Greg Stewart is also playing for the first time after many years of helping organise the event.

Other leading tour golfers include Mike Harwood, Terry Price and Rodger Davis.

Entry is free with the course open to the public to walk and follow the Legends as they compete.



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