Paul Casey will attempt to underline his credentials as one of the rising stars of European golf when he defends his title in this week’s ANZ Championship at the Horizons Golf Resort, Port Stephens, Australia.
The 26 year old Englishman, who also captured the Benson and Hedges International Open on The European Tour in 2003 on his way to a career-best sixth place finish on the Volvo Order of Merit, took the ANZ crown 12 months ago at the New South Wales Golf Club with 45 points in the modified stableford event.
The same system, which rewards attacking golf, will be in operation this year with eight points available for an albatross, five for an eagle and two for a birdie. Pars are worth no points, while a bogey will cost the players one point. Double bogeys or more will see three points subtracted from a player’s score.
Once again a strong field will assemble for the event including Major Champions Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam, a host of tournament winners from 2003, and ten of the 15 graduates from the 2003 Challenge Tour Rankings.
Also competing will be England’s Laura Davies, who has taken up a specific sponsors’ invitation and will make history by becoming the first woman professional to compete in a European Tour event.
The week will be a step into new territory for all competitors as it will be the first time the Horizons Golf Resort will have been utilised as a venue on The European Tour International Schedule.
Designed by former European Tour winner Graham Marsh and Ross Watson, the par 72 Horizons Golf Resort is a world class championship golf course of international tournament standard.
Opened in 1992, the course has consistently been rated within the top 20 in Australia and was ranked the Number One resort course in New South Wales in 2002. It quickly became know for its slick greens, hazardous waterways and undulating fairways creating a challenging test.