Guan, Hagy head to Australian Master of Amateurs

Tianlang Guan of China

Tianlang Guan of China

Australian Master of the Amateurs

Jan. 8-11, Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Black Rock, Victoria, Australia

Notables in the field: Tianlang Guan, Brandon Hagy, Nathan Holman (defending champion), Patrick Rodgers, Peter Williamson

The skinny: Tianlang Guan’s road to the Masters makes another stop in Australia at this week’s Master of the Amateurs. This trip will provide some valuable experience. Both this week’s site, Royal Melbourne’s West Course, and Augusta National were designed by Alister Mackenzie. Royal Melbourne, considered one of the world’s finest courses, hosted the 2011 Presidents Cup. Guan missed the cut in last month’s Australian Open with rounds of 82-70.

This event always features a strong, but small, contingent of Americans. This year is no different. Peter Williamson, the world’s No. 4 amateur, is the highest-ranked player in the field. He’s joined by countrymen Brandon Hagy and Patrick Rodgers, who are Nos. 12 and 13 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings. Williamson, who completed his college career at Dartmouth last spring, plans to stay amateur until this year’s Walker Cup. Williamson, Hagy and Rodgers all took part in the recent 16-man practice session for the Walker Cup team. Tennessee’s Rick Lamb, recent winner of the Gifford Intercollegiate at CordeValle, also is in the field; he’s paired with Guan in the first round.

Brady Watt, No. 16 in the R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, is the highest-ranked player in the field from the home country. Australia’s Nathan Holman returns to defend his 2012 title.

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