In-form Lawson primed for tomorrow

Deyen Lawson

Course record holder Deyen Lawson will tackle the Isuzu Queensland Open on the back of a successful two month campaign in China.

Lawson, who shot a sensational opening round course record 65 at The Brisbane Golf Club last year, had six top-10 finishes from eight tournament starts in China.

He flew in from China on Tuesday, claiming he was not fatigued after a gruelling tournament schedule.

“I managed to have a week’s break in the middle when my girlfriend and I went to Bali … I didn’t touch a club and really relaxed,’’ he said.

“The courses in China were very good and the travel and accommodation wasn’t a problem.

“I enjoyed the experience but you have to go out and manage your own game and not worry about anything else.

“It makes you appreciate the top-line players who travel all over the world and still perform to their best.’’

The 26-year old Victorian has produced a successful year after finishing tied 18th at last year’s Queensland Open.

“Shooting that 65 here last year seems a long, long time ago,’’ he quipped.

Lawson, who played in today’s pro-am, subsequently finished fourth at the New Zealand Open, seventh at the WA PGA Championship and runner-up at the Northern Territory PGA.

Lawson will depart on Monday for Spain to contest the second stage of European Tour qualifying school.

Meanwhile, defending champion Brett Coletta is hopeful of taking his place in the field after being admitted to hospital on Tuesday with a severe stomach “bug”.

Coletta was placed on an intravenous drip but was discharged later in the day. He withdrew from today’s pro-am but is confident of being well enough by his opening round tee time of 12.05pm.

Another strong contender this week will be Michael Sim who showed glimpses of the form which earned him a top-50 world ranking in 2009 when he finished third at last week’s West Australian Open.

“I played really well on the first day in Perth but not in the middle two rounds,’’ he said. “I struggled a bit, maybe because of expectations to get myself into contention on Sunday.

“I started the final day seven shots off the lead but played with a bit of freedom and shot a nice 66.’’

Sim finished at 12-under at Royal Perth to be three strokes behind winner Stephen Leaney.

“I go to the third stage of the Japanese qualifying school in a couple of weeks and this week gives me a good opportunity to do more work on my game,’’ he said.

Experienced Kiwi Mark Brown is invariably in the mix at most Australian tournaments with top-10 finishes at the WA Open, NT PGA and Queensland PGA this year. He was 11th at the 2016 Queensland Open.

“My form has been pretty steady. I didn’t play a lot of golf during the New Zealand winter and only play 15 or 20 events each year. I stick pretty close to home.

“I enjoy the warmer weather in Queensland and this is a good golf course. Hopefully, I can expect decent things this week.’’

A field of 132, including 33 amateurs, will contest the Isuzu Queensland Open with the opening round from 6.45am tomorrow (Thursday) at The Brisbane Golf Club. Admission to the public is free.

Prominent groups include:
7.15am (10th tee): Steven Jeffress (NSW), Ewan Porter (NSW), Louis Dobbelaar (am Qld)
7.27am (10th) Jed Morgan (am Qld), Oliver Goss (WA), Jordan Zunic (NSW)
11.45 (1st tee), Brad Shilton (NZ), Max McCardle (SA), Michael Sim (WA)
11.45am (10th tee) Rory Bourke (Vic), Jake McLeod (Qld), Chris Crabtree (am Qld)
11.55am (1st) Lawry Flynn (am Qld)), Deyen Lawson (Vic), Cory Crawford (Qld
12.05pm (1st), Callan O’Reilly (NSW), Michael Wright (Qld), Doug Klein (am)
12.15pm, Lincoln Tighe (NSW), Mark Brown (NZ), Zach Murray (am Vic)
12.05pm (10th) Brett Coletta (Vic), Taylor Macdonald (Qld), Lucas Herbert (Vic).