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Poor weather forecast to threaten Open

16/11/2006 05:47:54 AM Comments (0)

Strong winds and an early thunderstorm are forecast to greet players when the 91st Australian Open golf tournament commences at Royal Sydney today.

US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, two-time former winner Aaron Baddeley and American Bob Estes are scheduled to tee off first from the tenth tee at 7.40am, when showers and cool temperatures are expected in Sydney.

Tournament favourite and world No.4 Adam Scott, 2001 champion Stuart Appleby and current Australasian Order of Merit leader Kevin Stadler are due to hit off the first tee at 12.05pm.

In possibly his final appearance at the Open, five-time champion Greg Norman has been paired with 17-year-old world junior champion Matthew Giles and US PGA Tour representative Nathan Green.

Defending champion Robert Allenby and fellow US Tour regulars Rod Pampling, Nick O'Hern, John Senden and Peter Lonard are all part of a strong field made up predominantly of local talent.

Organisers have taken a fresh approach to this year's $1.5 million tournament, which will feature twilight tee times, crowds allowed much closer to the players during their rounds and musical performances after play.

Veteran Craig Parry hopes the tournament can recapture some of its former glory.

"Everyone wants to come back and play, it's a fantastic field, and it's great to be playing the Aussie Open," he said.

"Everyone wants the Australian Open to lift in prestige around the world, especially the Australian golfers."

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