Five reasons you should be watching the Australian Open this week

It’s officially tournament golf season in Australia starting with a world-first for the Australian Open at The Lakes this week in Sydney.

The 104th staging of the Australian Open arrives at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney this week and you really should grab yourself a ticket to come and watch for yourself, or tune in to Channel 7 to check out what should be a fantastic tournament.

In addition to hanging out with a beer in the tournament village (one of my favourite places to have an ale each year) there are a bunch of other reasons why you should get along (or tune in) to watch this week.

The Golf Course
The major redesign of The Lakes Golf Club in 2007 has seen the golf course become a wonderful place to host tournament golf. A rugged, strategic front nine has complimented the more famous, water lined back nine to produce a superb test of golf. Along with the ever-present strong winds, it’s always an intriguing place to watch some of the world’s best golfers try to post a score.

The Aussie charge
At just 25 years old, Cameron Smith has already got a few big wins under his belt including a PGA Tour trophy and a win at last year’s Australian PGA Championship. Ranked number 33 in the world, Smith has four top-20 finishes in his last seven starts including three top-10s. Smith could easily win this week and etch his name on the prestigious Stonehaven Cup.

Let’s not forget the defending champion Cameron Davis who already looks right at home on the PGA Tour, young guns Harrison Endycott, Jake McLeod and Zach Murray, as well as a strong veteran brigade including past champions Greg Chalmers, Robert Allenby and John Senden.

All Abilities Heroes
In a world-first, this year’s Australian Open will see an elite 12-person field compete alongside the pro golfer field. The ISPS HANDA Australian All Abilities Championship will see golfers with a disability will compete on the same course, under the same tournament playing conditions, next to those competing for the Open’s time-honoured Stonehaven Cup.

And these guys are incredible. Truly incredible. Check out All Abilities ranked world number 2 Juan Postigo show off his remarkable golf swing off only one leg. And see how difficult it is for Golf Australia’s Mark Hayes and touring pro Anthony Quayle.

The internationals
It’s true there are no big international headline names at this year’s Australian Open but the depth of the visitors is very good with many in great form. Matt Kuchar won on the PGA Tour last week, Keegan Bradley hasn’t played this well since the putter rules changed and Brandt Snedeker is back inside the world top-50 after a string of great results including a win on the PGA tour in August.

Add Nicolas Colsaerts, Brendan Steele, Anirban Lahiri, Byeong Hun An and our current favourite Mexican golfer Abraham Ancer into the mix and we’re set for a great tournament. we can honestly make a case for any of these guys winning this week. Especially Ancer.

The safer, short approach to the par-5 11th hole at The Lakes Golf Club.

Watch the pros play these epic par-5s
There are several epic holes at The Lakes that are made for championship golf. Make sure you see how the pros tackle the two par-5s on the back nine in particular.

Even for these big hitters, the water lined 11th is a true test requiring either very good course management to secure a tidy par, or a heroic couple of shots to get to the green in two.

The par-5 14th isn’t quite the long challenge like it used to be, but the forced water carry to a severely undulating green will be loads of fun to watch.

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