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The accident scene at Labasa bus stand. Photo: Shratika Naidu
August 16
17:55 2014

More locals are expected to take part in the Fiji International next year, says Brian Thorburn.

PGA of Australia chief executive officer Thorburn made the comment after the second round of the inaugural tournament at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course yesterday.

He said there would be 156 golfers in 2015 compared to 120 this year.

He was responding to an earlier comment from former world number one Vijay Singh, who said that more Fijian players should be given a chance.

Thorburn said five Fijian players were given a spot this year.

“We issued an invitation to Vijay Singh, Dinesh Chand and Batibasaga (Rika) who was born in Australia but of Fijian heritage,” he said.

“We granted a spot for the winner of the Fiji Open where local Fijians were given the opportunity to come through. We granted a spot for the Fiji qualifying school so there was five in that sense. It is unusual to grant five from a qualifying school and we do not provide a qualifying school for Australia or Asian players,” he said.

Thorburn said they would take Vijay’s comment onboard as something to ponder on for the 2015 tournament.

“We do hope, this tournament will be an avenue for local Fijians to play, but it’s no point in putting a Fijian in a field that’s going to score eight or nine over par so we need to make sure that the people who come through are capable.

“We are impressed by Sam Lee (amateur) who had one over in the first day. We take all those consideration into account when we make the judgement next year.

“I’m looking forward to have a chat with Vijay to give him a proper briefing on what we have done already and what we are planning for the future.”

While the competition picked up pace yesterday, Thorburn said the weekend would be better.

“Friday was really good condition; and today (yesterday) the wind comes up but the feedback from the players has been great.

“Everybody loves the course the competition is strong and we are in for a good tournament. There’s no problem so far and hopefully Saturday or Sunday we will get more locals out supporting the tournament and we are looking forward to a great weekend.”



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