The DP World Tour stays in Australia for the 2023 edition of the ISPS Australian Open set to take place at the Lakes Golf Club and the Australian Golf Club in Sydney. Damien Kayat previews.
2023/2024 PGA Tour of Australasia/ DP World Tour
ISPS Handa Australian Open
The Australian Golf Club, The Lakes Golf Club, Sydney, Australia
30th November- 3rd December
I was on fire last week, picking Min Woo Lee to win and Marc Leishman to figure in a continuation of some late-season form on my part. Now that I have put that little bit of self-congratulation to one side, let’s just take a moment to revel in Min Woo Lee’s remarkable performance at Royal Queensland.
Surely this guy has got to be knocking on the door of some Major Championships in the near future. His wedge play was a joy to behold and some of the touch he showed around the green was Mickelson-esque.
He is playing some amazingly consistent golf of late and I wouldn’t be surprised if he figures prominently again this week. Adrian Meronk is back to defend his title while Cam Smith looks to bounce back from a wretched outing last week.
ISPS Handa Australian Open
First staged in 1904, this will be the 106th edition of this esteemed national open. This event has a storied history, with the megawatt pair of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player holding a combined total of 13 titles between them.
It started to become less illustrious as the PGA Tour started to dominate the golfing landscape. But recent innovations could make the event more attractive again. This will be the 2nd consecutive season that the event will be co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour.
Also, this will be the 2nd time that the event plays host to both the men’s and women’s national opens concurrently.
Australian Golf Club/The Lakes Golf Club
The men and women will alternate between two courses for the first two days: the Australian Golf Club and the Lakes Golf Club. The Australian Golf Club will then host all the weekend’s action.
The Australian has hosted the national Open 21 times while the Lakes has hosted it seven times. Founded in 1882, the Australian is actually the oldest golf club in Australia. Twice renovated by Jack Nicklaus, the Australian will offer a slightly different test to Royal Melbourne.
It also features plenty of bunkers but there is water in play on seven holes. The whole test is generally tighter than Royal Melbourne and accuracy might prove slightly more important than distance this week. As for the Lakes, it has something of a linksy feel to it and it could prove a challenge if the wind gets up.
Min Woo Lee looked imperious last week and I can’t imagine him not being in amongst it again this week. Cam Smith was- by his standards- diabolical last week and he will be desperate for some much-needed OWGR points this week.
Adam Scott has quietly been going about his business of late and I wouldn’t be surprised if the evergreen former Masters champ features this week.
Marc Leishman struck the ball beautifully last week and he has to be respected in this lineup. Elsewhere, the likes of Adrian Meronk and Joaquin Niemann add a bit of glitz to proceedings.
2022: Adrian Meronk (-22)
2020-2021: cancelled due to pandemic
2019: Matt Jones (-15)
2018: Abraham Ancer (-16)
2017: Cameron Davies (-11)
2016: Jordan Spieth (-12) *playoff
To Win Outright:
Min Woo Lee 5/1 | Cameron Smith 11/2 | Cameron Davies 8/1 | Adam Scott 8/1 | Joaquin Niemann 14/1
Alex Fitzpatrick- To Win 66/1 | To Place 14/1
Younger brother to Matt Fitzpatrick, Alex Fitzpatrick has started to carve out a decent reputation for himself this season. He turned professional last year after a four-year college career at Wake Forest University. He has split his time this year between the Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour. He won the British Challenge, finished fourth at the Italina Challenge Open and T3 at the B-NI Challenge Trophy. He also finished runner-up at the ISPS Handa World Invitational and T5 at the European Masters. His top 20 finish at the Open should make him an ideal candidate to tame the Lakes Course. He finished inside the top 20 last week and he should be better acclimatized to the Aussie conditions this time around.
The Man to Beat- Adam Scott- To Win 8/1 | To Place 22/10
I’m really liking the look of Adam Scott this week. He finished sixth in last week’s Australian PGA Championship and he now has four top 10s in his last seven starts. That included two top 10s on the PGA Tour and a top 10 at Wentworth. He wasn’t overly aggressive off the tee last week but he really looked zoned in with his iron play. He was also a joint runner-up at the Australian when it hosted this event back in 2015.