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Campbell aiming for third Heineken title

A strong field is in Melbourne this week all intent on depriving New Zealand's Michael Campbell of a third successive Heineken Classic title.

Campbell will be bidding to become only the fourth player in European Tour history to capture an event three years in a row but the likes of John Daly, Robert Allenby, Adam Scott and Ernie Els will all be targetting the €220,000 first prize at the Royal Melbourne Club.

Players have been falling over themselves this week to praise the quality of the course and most believe the winner may come from the local favourites who include the likes of former world No. 1 Greg Norman and Adam Scott.

''There is no question about that, especially putting these greens and approaching these greens with your second shot,'' said two-time US Open champion Els.

''Experience definitely helps you. I think these are the best putting surfaces I have seen,'' he added.

It was 12 months ago that Campbell became the first player to successfully defend the title when the event was at the Vines Club in Perth.

The event is now held at the venue for the 1998 Presidents Cup and Campbell is under no illusions that his strongest challenge ought to come from southern Hemisphere rivals. He pinpointed Australia's Robert Allenby, the world No. 26, as his main challenger.

''The tournament is right in his back yard and he's played Royal Melbourne numerous times. Robert is a real world-class player. He'll be tough to beat.''

Also in the field is Sweden's Pierre Fulke, who lost out to Steve Stricker in the World Matchplay final on this course last spring, and Daly, the 1995 Open Champion who this week pledged he'd play on the 2002 European Tour.

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