Greg Norman, in workboots, entertains fans at Pelican Waters in 1999 during course construction before the opening in 2001. Photo: David Kapernick
Greg Norman, in workboots, entertains fans at Pelican Waters in 1999 during course construction before the opening in 2001. Photo: David Kapernick

Prizemoney hike for Queensland Open

THE Queensland Open will return to the Sunshine Coast for the first time in 30 years when it is reinvented at Caloundra's Pelican Waters course in February.

Pros were in the dark about new dates for the popular event when it was postponed from its regular October-November slot but no longer.

The February 20-23 timing will beef up the Australasian Tour with four straight weeks of golf, including a regional Queensland swing because it follows the Queensland PGA at Toowoomba's City Golf Club (February 13-16).

Tournament golf will return to the Sunshine Coast for the first time since Clive Palmer's unpredictable handling of the Australian PGA at his Coolum resort forced spooked organisers to look elsewhere after 2012.

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The Queensland Open hasn't been staged in the region since Beerwah's own Ian Baker-Finch was a popular local winner at Hyatt Regency Coolum in 1990, two years after Brett Officer took the title at Caloundra Golf Club.

Pelican Waters is a testing Greg Norman-designed layout and the condition has been upgraded over the past 12 months as displayed during the recent Sunshine Coast Masters on the Ladbrokes Legends Tour.

That was still not enough in itself to hook a new home for the state Open which was revived by the wonderful support of host clubs Brookwater Golf and Country Club (2013-15) and Brisbane Golf Club (2016-18).

This fresh leap for the tournament has been made possible by a new event partnership with Palm Lake Group, owners of Pelican Waters.

The Queensland Open will provide the company with a perfect shop window to showcase its newest over-50s community lifestyle resort, Palm Lake Resort Caloundra Cay.

"With the great location and timing of the event, we are set to have one of the best fields assembled in many years," Golf Australia's state senior manager Luke Bates said.

"Through this new relationship, we are in position to further grow the event and provide a great experience for all involved."

Jordan Zunic celebrates his 2018 Queensland Open win at Brisbane Golf Club with caddie-fiancee Olivia Marlow Photo: David Kapernick, Golf Queensland
Jordan Zunic celebrates his 2018 Queensland Open win at Brisbane Golf Club with caddie-fiancee Olivia Marlow Photo: David Kapernick, Golf Queensland

Jordan Zunic is the defending champion for an event which has also had a prizemoney hike from $110,000 to $137,500.

Norman won the Queensland Open twice in the 1980s and it is now being played on the course he designed for a 2001 opening.

Palm Lake Group managing director Scott Elliott said the event's move was a boon for the Sunshine Coast.

"We are very excited to partner with Golf Australia and bring a major event of this calibre back to the Sunshine Coast after three decades, both for the benefit of the game and for the benefit of our local community," Elliott said.

Over a four-week swing, Australian and Kiwi pros can now take aim at the Victorian Open at 13th Beach (February 6-9), the Queensland PGA, the Queensland Open and the New Zealand Open (February 27-March 1) at Millbrook Resort, outside Queenstown.

News Corp Australia


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