We are back to the Australian mainland after events in New Caledonia and Fiji, the PGA Tour of Australasia revisits Brisbane Golf Club for the first time since 1991 when Stuart Appleby won the QLD Open title as an amateur. Whilst the Tour Insider has been busy removing the tiny grains of Fiji sand from my hair follicles, I have also found the time to assemble five players for you to keep your eyes on at this week's Isuzu Queensland Open.
#1 Taylor Macdonald
It's been a mixed season of results so far for Macdonald in his rookie year on the PGA Tour of Australasia after finishing third at Qualifying School. A guy with plenty of talent and a distinguished amateur career, look for Macdonald to find his feet at the Brisbane Golf Club this week as he'll no doubt relish the opportunity to sleep at home and compete in his own backyard. A long hitter and prolific ball striker, the Brisbane layout should provide plenty of birdie opportunities for Macdonald and if the putter cooperates, look for him towards the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
#2 Geoff Drakeford
There's a lot to like about Geoff Drakeford, a genuine laid back Aussie guy who you'd happily sit at the bar with most weekends and discuss the next race at Flemington, but don't be fooled, he will absolutely destroy you on the golf course! With a few years of Tour experience under his belt, as well as a stint on the Challenge Tour in Europe, now is the time for Geoff to make his mark on the Australian golfing scene. The Brisbane Golf Club should set up perfectly for his game, not an overly long course, expect Drakeford to have nothing more than a wedge into majority of the par-4's.
#3 Antonio Murdaca
Antonio's season can be best associated with a bag of lollies: Licorice All-Sorts. Playing with all but no status anywhere, Murdaca has relied on tournament invites on the back of his amateur results which included his Major Championship debut at Augusta National. He's played everywhere from France to Korea to the United States, however, since turning Professional Murdaca hasn't really hit the anticipated heights, unlike his current air points! Expect this to turn around sooner rather than later. Following a runner-up finish at the WA Open earlier in the year, Murdaca has just qualified through to second stage of Web.Com Q-School after shooting 16-under par, so the game is definitely there, let's just hope his clubs arrive on time in Brisbane!
#4 Min Woo Lee (am)
What a year it has been for the Australian Amateurs, kick started by Min Woo Lee's victory at the US Junior Amateur Championship earlier this year, followed by Curtis Luck taking out both the US Amateur and Asia- Pacific Amateur Championships. Not sure what's in the water over in Perth, but it is proving to be a solid breeding ground for Australian golfing talent. Whilst this week he will compete against the professionals, Min Woo is no stranger to the competitive nature on tour having played in previous PGA Tour of Australasia events in WA. There's something about these up-and-coming WA boys, they're fearless, the QLD Open will provide a perfect opportunity for Min Woo to continue his development. Keep your eye on this one.
#5 Jarrod Lyle
One of the Australian public's favourite golfing icons. His story is well documented and well worth a read if you haven't already, it's great to see him not only playing again on Tour, but playing competitively. Coming off a 12th place finish in Fiji last week, Lyle arrived into Brisbane on Sunday to familiarise himself with the Brisbane Golf Club layout. No stranger to preparation after many years spent on the PGA TOUR in America, Lyle is aiming to master the greens at Brisbane Golf Club which proves to be the courses strongest defense. Don't let that big loveable smile bamboozle you, Lyle is here for the win.
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