by Pam McKay
GOLF: Yeppoon's Ben Swaffield is sure to be a major player in the Emu Park Golf Club Men's Open Championship on Saturday.
The 17-year-old , who plays off a handicap of one, is in red-hot form after arriving home from representing Australia in two junior events in the United States.
Just a week after touching down on home soil, Swaffield fired a one-under par 67 to win the Miriam Vale Junior Open by 10 shots.
The following day, he claimed the Gladstone Junior Open by five shots with a two-under par 68.
He will be looking to continue that winning form when he tees off at Emu Park on Saturday.
A field of 110 players has nominated for the open, which will be played over 27 holes. (Scheduled as a 36-hole, two-day event in April, it had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.)
The club's greens chairman, Bruce Slattery, said organisers were thrilled with the numbers given the change of date.
Players from across Central Queensland will vie for a share of the more than $4000 in prizes on offer for events including gross and nett winners and runners-up in A, B and C grades, pin shots and longest drives.
Reigning champion Paul Matula will be back to defend his title, while Mark Lewis, Trevor Tougher and Luke Trenerry are also expected to be in the mix.
Slattery expects the course to play well, despite it being targeted by vandals twice in the past two months.
He praised the efforts of greenkeeper Wayne Trenerry and his team who had worked tirelessly to repair the fairways and greens that were damaged.
Saturday's field will tee off from 7am to 10.56am.