DEFENDING champions Australia will take a strong team into the 2009 Asia Pacific Seniors Championship in Malaysia in December but face a real threat this year from in form senior golf arch rivals New Zealand.
Australia beat the Kiwis by 23 points last year with The Philippines third.
For the first time this year the New Zealand team trounced Australia in the Trans Tasman Senior Championship conducted over two days at Sanctuary Cove in May.
Earlier, New Zealand’s Rodney Barltrop won the Australian Senior Amateur Championship on Bribie Island, preventing Australia’s top senior golfer Stefan Albinski from claiming back to back titles.
Albinski will head a team of six senior golfers Golf Australia hopes can wrest momentum back from the Kiwis.
The recently announced team also includes Greg Corben (NSW), Denis Dale (NSW), Grahame McDonald (Qld), Ross Percy (Vic) and Brian Sams (NSW).
The championship, which includes national teams from across the region, will be played at the Nexus Golf Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia from the 10-12 December.
Australia’s Playing Manager Denis Dale agrees it will be a tough battle with the Kiwis.
“The Australian team is certainly a strong one with four of the successful 2008 team (Denis Dale, Stefan Albinski, Ross Percy, Brian Sams) joining newcomers Greg Corben and Grahame MacDonald in the defence of the trophy,” Denis said.
“Both the Kiwis and The Philippines are likely to be the main dangers with these two countries expected to send very strong teams. New Zealand won the event in 2006 and The Philippines in 2007 and they will be motivated to defeat the Australians and record another victory,” he said,
“With the New Zealand team defeating Australia for the first time in the annual Seniors Trans Tasman Trophy earlier this year the Aussies are very keen to get one back on our main golfing rivals.
“In 2008 Stefan Albinksi was the individual Asia-Pacific Senior Champion defeating fellow Aussie Brian Sams in a play-off. Another individual title to go with a team victory would be a perfect result.”