Queensland Open a perfect fit for Aussies
AS A proud ambassador at Brookwater Golf and Country Club, Michael Wright is delighted to see the Queensland Open gaining in popularity and quality.
He's always keen to promote the Ipswich course rated number one in the state.
However, as a professional player, Wright sees other benefits in having the Queensland Open back in the city for the second year following a long absence.
It gives many of Australia's leading golfers an opportunity to tackle a challenging course before heading to New Caledonia, Asia and returning home for major summer tournaments.
"It fits into the calendar well," Wright said preparing to tee off in today's opening round at the Brookwater course.
"It's a fantastic event. Not just because it's my home course but having it staged. It's been off the calendar for seven years.
"I think they'll do a better job this year than last year."
Among the 2014 contenders are last year's winner Nick Cullen, who claimed victory by five shots over three-time European Tour winner Peter O'Malley.
Wright said this year's field included a number of professionals who regularly play on the PGA Australasia tour and overseas.
Former British Open entrant Wright played in a team's event at yesterday's Pro-Am. He was happy with his form on a course he plays two or three times a week.
"We had a good day," he said.
"We got the two best stableford scores out of the four."
However, with a quality field and tough course to tackle, Wright is keeping his goal simple.
"I didn't handle it too well mentally," he said of his performance in last year's Queensland Open.
"This time, I'm just playing it like I'm practicing out here.
"I always try to have very low expectations and high standards."
Wynnum-based Wright turned professional in 1999.
Apart from playing in the British Open in 2006 and 2009, he came second in a Thailand Open, has competed in Japan and came fifth in last year's Australian PGA.
He recently finished 35th in Fiji, where he met former world number one Vijay Singh on the last day of the tournament.
As for suggestions Brookwater can be a brutal course, Wright said that was the challenge for players.
"You've got to hit quality shots and if you do that you'll get rewarded," Wright said.
"I don't think there's many unfair holes and the speed of the greens are running at about 10. They should be like that all week.
"It will be a good fair test."
Wright said the Fijian course he recently encountered was similar to Brookwater.
"They are both really tough. It was blowing a lot more over there than it will blow here but difficulty wise, it was pretty much on par.
"It was a great lead-up."
- The Queensland Open is being played at the Brookwater Golf and Country Club over the next four days.
- Players tee off from 6.45am today and tomorrow, and from 9am on Saturday and Sunday.
- One hundred and 20 professional and amateur golfers are expected to contest the championship.
Groups to watch today: 6.50am - 10th: Steven Jeffress (Qld), Peter O'Malley (NSW), Nick Cullen (SA). 7am: 10th - Michael Sim (WA), Andrew Dodt (Qld), (am) Viraat Badhwar (Qld). 7.10am: 10th - Jake Higginbottom (NSW), Matthew Griffin (Vic), (am) Anthony Murdaca (SA). 7.20am: 1st - Anthony Summers (NSW), Scott Draper (Qld), Jean-Louis Guepy (NC). 11.35am: 1st - Michael Long (NZ), (am) Jack Sullivan (Qld), Bradley Hughes (Vic).