MasterCard Masters preview

After the drama of last week's Australian Open in Sydney, the focus shifts to Melbourne tomorrow as some of the world's top players continue their quest for prize money Down Under. The event is being recognised by the European Tour for the first time.

Tournament: MasterCard Masters

Host Course: Huntingdale Golf Club, Melbourne

Prize Fund: $1,500,000

The MasterCard Masters is set to take its place on The European Tour International Schedule for the first time this week and is being staged at the Huntingdale Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, for the 26th consecutive year. Michael Campbell, winner of the 2005 US Open, and Ryder Cup star, Paul Casey will be leading an admirable international line-up against Australia?s finest.

The prize fund is $1,500,000, with the winner scooping $270,000, the runner-up taking $153,000 and third place walking away with $101,250.

Campbell (pictured) will be striving for his second Golf Jacket after his previous win here in 2000, while Casey, a hero for the European Ryder Cup team at the K Club in September, will be looking to make a prompt return to the winners? enclosure in the new season following a thrilling 2006 campaign that yielded three victories.

?It is always nice to try and beat some of the best players in the world,? said Campbell.

?I love competing against good fields and it?s what gets me up in the morning so I am really looking forward to it.?

England?s Simon Dyson, winner of two titles last season, is also in action alongside another of the 2006 European Tour winners, Kevin Stadler of America, who bagged the Johnnie Walker Classic on Australian soil in February.

Robert Allenby will be defending his title after last year becoming the first player in history to achieve ?The Triple Crown? - a hat trick of victories in Australia?s premier events of the MFS Australian Open, the Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA and the MasterCard Masters.

Joining Allenby amongst the home favourites will be Stuart Appleby, a two-time winner in 2006 and the ever consistent Nick O?Hern.

England?s Justin Rose returns to The European Tour fold after a prosperous season in America, during which he claimed six top tens and finished the year in 47th place on the US PGA Tour Money List.

Contenders: Michael Campbell, Paul Casey, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby.

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