DEFENDING champion Gareth Paddison is one of four joint favourites for the 2013 edition of the Victorian PGA Championship, which tees off on Thursday at Creswick’s Forest Resort.
Paddison, from New Zealand, heads TAB Sportsbet’s market alongside Victorian duo Anthony Brown and Matthew Griffin and Queenslander Daniel Nisbet.
Each of the quartet is currently rated a $15 chance of taking out the tournament.
Another Victorian Ashley Hall is the next most fancied golfer at $17, with three-time European Tour winner Peter O’Malley heading a list of four players on $21.
Meanwhile, Ballarat touring pro Peter Nolan ($101) and local amateurs Craig Boucher ($401) and Travis Tatt ($501) are rated as outsiders.
PGA Australia southern division executive officer Geoff Stewart said this year’s field of golfers was possibly better than when Forest Resort hosted its inaugural tournament in 2012.
“When you look at it on paper, the overall field is as strong as last year if not a little bit better. The top end is very similar, but the depth is spread out better,” Stewart said.
“I think most of the players enjoy coming to a regional area like Ballarat rather than always being in the city. They can stay on site (in Creswick) or in Ballarat and everything is convenient.
“The fact that the community embraces this sort of tournament – because of the size of Ballarat – the players appreciate that.”
Stewart said the course at Forest Resort was in great condition on the eve of the four-day event.
“The greens are in fantastic shape, the fairways are looking a little greener than last year and the rough has grown up a bit and is nice and green so everyone is raving about how good the course is at the moment,” Stewart said.