Region’s best in Open

Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
The 2015 South West Open winner Rory Bourke.
Camera IconThe 2015 South West Open winner Rory Bourke. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

The South West’s best golfers will this weekend get the chance to play against some of Australia’s best professionals at Bunbury’s biggest golf tournament, the Nexus South West Open.

The three-day, 54-hole competition tees off on Saturday at the Bunbury Golf Club and a reduced number of professionals has resulted in many of the region’s golfers getting a chance to lower their handicaps and vie for the prestigious prize.

Headlining this year’s event is 2013 Perth International champion Jin Jeong and 2015 South West Open winner Rory Bourke, who will be two of the favourites.

Bunbury Golf Club general manager Des Shearer said 46 professionals would compete for this year’s championship.

“It will be a strong competition,” he said.

“It has a real big tournament feel.”

Three female golfers will take to the tee, with Breanna Gill and Grace Lennon to join regular competitor Hayley Bettencourt on the greens for this year’s tournament.

Shearer said with rain expected today and tomorrow, the course would likely play differently to most years.

“Grass will be nice and soft and there’s no doubt we will have some low-scoring winds,” he said.

Shearer said organisers of the event were looking at moving the tournament to earlier in the year, with 30 less professionals competing this weekend.

“They (the professionals) had a long run on tour, with a month in Papua New Guinea and have been on the road for about four months,” he said.

“Also with the Busselton and Margaret River big events not going ahead, it hurts our numbers.

“But on a positive it gives a few more locals a start this year.”

The festivities of the tournament begin tonight with a sports dinner with special guest Matthew Pavlich, before the golf begins tomorrow with the sponsors Pro-Am.

The tournament begins on Saturday from 7.30am.

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