DEFENDING CHAMPION: Inaugural event.

COURSE: After a nomadic existence in its early days, Bonnie Doon Golf Club settled on its current site in Pagewood, the original layout designed by Prosper Ellis and opened for play in 1951.

Ross Watson updated the design beginning in 1995, before OCCM (Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking and Mead) developed a master plan for the golf course that was completed in 2019 and saw the course ranked 30th in Australia’s Top-100 Courses in 2020.

Featuring undulating greens, sandy waste areas, wispy rough and natural-looking bunkering, the new course places a premium on strategy and placement and pays homage to the Melbourne Sandbelt and the courses designed in the ‘Golden Age’ of course architecture.

PRIZEMONEY: $150,000.

RELATED: So-called expert golf tips for this week


European Tour player Jake McLeod finally gets his 2021 campaign officially underway this week and is certainly worth keeping an eye on at Bonnie Doon.

McLeod won his only professional event in NSW at the state Open in 2018 and his accurate driving and iron play should suit the strategic test of the OCCM design here perfectly.

McLeod last played a four-round event at the Scottish Open in October last year, so rust is a natural concern, but he is a class player who will be keen to get out of the blocks fast.

Elvis Smylie makes his professional debut this week and the wunderkind is a major chance to have an instant impact in the play for pay ranks.

RIGHT: Jake McLeod makes his first start for the year at Bonnie Doon this week, the course well-suited to his game. PHOTOS: Octavio Passos/Getty Images (right); PGA of Australia (top).

Smylie was runner-up in the first Players Series event at Rosebud showing once again he is more than equipped to compete at this level and will have course designer Mike Clayton on the bag this week, adding to his chances immeasurably.

Steph Kyriacou is seemingly mentioned every time she tees it up since her boom rookie year in Europe last year, and for good reason.

The Sydney local won last year as an amateur to secure her LET card and never looked back, and will be more than familiar with this week’s venue and would not be a surprise as the second winner of The Players Series concept. And one that would do great things for the profile of the already promising events.

Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 1pm – 4pm)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 10am – 3pm)
*AEDT, check local guides