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Goslings attracts largest ever pro field

Golf tourism might be struggling world wide, but the Goslings Invitational is going from strength to strength.

The event at Belmont Hills Golf Club, which runs from November 27 to December 1, will see the largest professional field the tournament has ever had with a waiting list now in operation for players who failed to sign up in time.

Billy Walsh will have his work cut out defending his title with past winners Kirk Hanefeld, Joe Horowitz and Mike Donald all taking part. Jordan Mitchell, the 2011 Bermuda Open winner, is also in the field, as is two-time Open runner-up Brennan Webb.

Add in the likes of Brian McCann, PH Horgan III, and last year’s amateur champion Terance Daniels, who returns this year as a professional, and the scene appears set for an exciting four days.

“I think the competition is going to be a little bit intense this year It’s the biggest professional field, 52, that we’ve ever had, it’s a quality field,” said organiser Alex Madeiros.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as laid back as previous years, I think people are bringing their (A) game. With the economy and people not doing as well, the money ($15k winners cheque) is a big thing. It would be a big Christmas gift.”

The total prize money up for grabs is $60,000, most of which has been made available through the backing of Goslings. And Madeiros pointed to the number of professionals, of which 15 are local, as a reason for thinking the Invitational could expand beyond its current size in the future.

“We’ve picked up a lot of new professionals, a lot of younger professionals that are coming down, which is testament to Goslings and the branding that they have for the whole week,” said Madeiros.

“Maybe in a way I’m a little surprised (by the numbers), but there’s a market for it, it’s a different type of event.

“It (expansion) is something for Goslings and Malcolm (Gosling) to think about going forward, maybe look at a greater purse if they are going to get this kind of participation.

“I don’t see why we can’t look at that, but it all comes down to the dollars and the sponsorship, which (apart from Goslings) is non-existent at the moment.”

The field for next week’s tournament is slightly smaller than last year’s, with 96 players overall, down from the 103 that took part in 2010. Overseas golfer Gray Yancey is expected to challenge for the amateur title, while Jeffrey Lindo is bidding for his sixth straight seniors title.

“We capped it, we decided to cap it because daylight it always a concern and 103 players, 106 players it becomes a bit of a nightmare from a pairing standpoint,” said Madeiros.

“Still, it’s a great field, and there should be plenty of competition in the professionals and amateur divisions.”

Photo by Glenn Tucker William Walsh beat out Defending Champion Kirk Hanefeld, and Zoltan Veress in a three way play off to win the

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Published November 16, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 16, 2011 at 8:06 am)

Goslings attracts largest ever pro field

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