Golfers get year off to great start

By TONY WHITE

twhite@dailyexaminer.com.au

GOLFERS from around the Clarence Valley including new Daily Examiner general manager Steve Hutton will tee off tomorrow in the Maclean Opening Day 3-person ambrose event at Maclean Golf Club (MGC).

The annual event is sponsored by The Daily Examiner.

MGC spokesman Paul Moore said a field of between 80-120 was expected.

"It's our first major tournament to open the new season," Moore said.

"It's a great way to start with everyone a chance of winning under the ambrose format. You don't have to be the best golfer in the world, it's a team event that allows you to combine with your partners.

"It's open to men, women or mixed groups.

"Once again we're hoping for a big field of golfers from around the Clarence district."

Moore said a host of excellent trophies have been provided for the day.

"The course is in excellent order for the opening day," Moore said of the challenging 18-hole layout.

Hutton, formerly based in New Zealand, considers himself a golfing novice, but is looking forward to the challenge.

Moody agreed McGrath, who was locked into Australia's XI against Sri Lanka after Jayasuriya had belted the other bowlers in his absence at the SCG early in the series, would be missed.

"Certainly (losing) someone with the experience Glenn has, there's going to be a lot of responsibility on who partners Brett, and who follows the opening attack," he said.

"If Sanath gets off the hook as we saw in Sydney there's not too many bowlers who really want to be putting their hand up in world cricket."

Lee had earlier refused to give away Australia's plan to bowl at Jayasuriya, but Ponting was more forthcoming on how his bowlers had to cater for Sri Lanka's top order on the Adelaide surface.

"You can't afford to give him width, (Kumar) Sangakkara is similar as well in that they're very strong square of the wicket, and Adelaide Oval the way it is you've got to look to bowl pretty straight," he said.

"We'll use some changes of pace through the innings and Sanath can expect some short stuff as well.

"It's important we start the game off well, they're a very good front-running side and when they get started they can be hard to peg back with bat and ball so we've got to start really well."

Australia's side is unchanged from the one that splintered South Africa in Sydney, while Sri Lanka must assess the fitness of several players ? namely Nuwan Kulasekara and Ruchira Perrera - before settling on a team.

The match will be played on the same wicket that hosted preliminary games on January 24 and 26, and as such is likely to spin and play slowly.

Sri Lanka's wealth of spin options, not least the considerable wiles of specialist supersub and leg spinner Malinga Bandara, will have Ponting on tenterhooks at the coin toss.

"Looking at the way they've played their cricket the toss is going to be pretty important because they'll want to bat first," he said.

Australia's preoccupation with its ongoing battle against South Africa, scheduled to resume in the rainbow nation a week after the tri-series, may also play into Sri Lanka's hands.

Ponting said prolific New South Welshman Phil Jaques had probably booked a South African tour ticket for the one dayers, and seemed keen to chase the Proteas.

"We played some great cricket against them."



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