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Strong field for Johnnie Walker Classic

Three of the world’s top six are in Perth this week, heading a star-studded field for the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic.

The $A2.8 million (£1 million) event, co-sanctioned by the European, Australasian and Asian Tours, returns to Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, where South African Retief Goosen scored a run-away win last year.

The 2001 US Open champion, who fired a course record 63 en route to an eight shot win, is currently ranked sixth in the world.

Goosen will defend his title against red-hot countryman Ernie Els, the world No.2, who has started his year with back-to-back wins on the US tour, a runner-up finish in Singapore and a successful defence of the Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne two weeks ago.

The 33-year-old is a previous winner of the Johnnie Walker Classic, having claimed the title at Hope Island, Queensland, in 1997.

The South African duo will surely get a run for their money from world No. 6 Sergio Garcia, who was third behind Goosen at Lake Karrinyup last year. The 23-year-old Spaniard went on to win in Europe, the US and Asia in 2002.

Amongst the other big names in action this week are six-time major winner Nick Faldo, who shared second place at the Heineken Classic, who won the Johnnie Walker Classic twice, in 1990 and 1993.

1996 champion Ian Woosnam, the 1991 US Masters Champion, is also in the field as is Europe’s leading money winner in 2000, Lee Westwood.

Leading the Australasian charge will be Robert Allenby, Craig Parry and Adam Scott, while Scott and Garcia will be challenged for the tag of leading young gun by talented English trio Justin Rose, Nick Dougherty and Paul Casey, fresh from his win at the ANZ Championship in Sydney.

The Asian Tour will be well represented by the likes of South Korea’s Kevin Na, 2002 Order of Merit winner Jyoti Randhawa, India’s Arjun Atwal and Prayad Marksaeng from Thailand.


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