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Vandals damage greens at The Vines
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Vandals damage greens at The Vines

Greenkeepers are working urgently to repair vandalism to a green ahead of the $1.6 million Heineken Classic tournament at The Vines Course, near Perth, starting on Thursday. The damage,

to 60 per cent of the first green, was made by someone joyriding in a stolen golf buggy who performed up to 30 "doughnuts" on the pristine surface, tournament manager Rod Leembruggen said.

He was confident the green could be repaired sufficiently in time for the tournament, a joint European and Australasian tour event featuring Greg Norman.

Staff discovered the mess early yesterday as they inspected the greens after record rains which fell over Perth on Friday night and Saturday.

"We believe they stole a buggy from the resort and decided the green looked a bit like Calder Park raceway," Leembruggen said.

"It wasn't a deliberate act, otherwise they would've done far more significant damage. It was a mindless act by someone who thought doing it might have been a lot of fun.

"They covered quite a bit of the green. It will get some scarring but nothing that will affect putting or play.

Green staff would lift the soil to try to get it level "then it will be rolled and cut, rolled and cut and lifted again".

"It's a challenge they didn't need but they (staff) have come too far to let something like this get to them.

The weekend's rain did not adversely affect the greens and was actually good for the course, Leembruggen said.

However, it had made the greens soft and worsened the damage by the vandals in the buggy.

Meanwhile, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiminez, the European No.4, has pulled out of the tournament with flu, and will also miss the Greg Norman International at The Lakes in Sydney next week.

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