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Michael Campbell has fond memories of Vines

A rusty Michael Campbell will rely heavily on his local knowledge when he competes in the Johnnie Walker Classic which starts on Thursday.

The U.S. Open champion has not played tournament golf since finishing joint fourth at the Mercedes Championships in Hawaii at the start of January.

But Campbell is confident the Vines Resort and Country Club in Perth will bring out the best in him, especially as he can draw on the memories of back-to-back Heineken Classic wins on the same course in 2000 and 2001.

"I have such fond memories of this course and, while the first nine holes have changed, it's great to be back in Western Australia," the 36-year-old New Zealander was quoted as saying on his official website.

"I haven't played much golf in recent weeks and instead Julie and I have been moving to a new house in Sydney and we also renewed our wedding vows."

World number 13 Campbell is positive he can quickly regain his touch despite his lack of practice.

"I have probably played one round of golf in four weeks and that was horrendous," he said.

"My preparation for this tournament hasn't been great but it's like riding a bike. It will just take a couple of minutes to get on the seat and ride again.

"I'm sure I will be fine as I feel like I've got 15 clubs in my bag and that 15th club is... the success I have had here in the past at the Vines."

Campbell says he is feeling refreshed after his break from the game and cannot wait to get back into the swing of things.

"I'm fresh, I haven't played, but my mind and my body feel pretty good," he said.

"Last week, while watching the Dubai Desert Classic, I could feel my fingers tapping and my feet, and that's because I am ready to go now."

Campbell, who picked up his first European Tour win when he triumphed at the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic, will be up against a top-quality field this week including world number three Retief Goosen, number 10 Adam Scott and number 12 Colin Montgomerie.

Title holder Scott, Campbell, Goosen and Montgomerie have all visited a mini Mount Rushmore of their images on Perth's Cottesloe Beach, a sand sculpture made by a local woman.

"I'm not too sure about the likeness but it's great what she's done and all credit to her," said Montgomerie.

"I'm told she now lives in Dubai so she has plenty of raw material to work with over there."

The Johnnie Walker Classic is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour.

February 8, 2006


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