Inaugural Asian Amateur Field Loaded With Southern Hemisphere's Finest

Sean Martin reports that the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship--created by the R&A and Augusta National to give a birth to the winner into the Masters (but not the Open)--has lined up some of Australia and New Zealand's finest golfers when it starts October 29.

Martin notes there was early criticism of the field quality after it was hailed by Peter Dawson (who else?) as a great way to grow the game in Asia. He confirms those suspicions have come true:

The Asian Amateur field is weak when considering the big prize awaiting the winner, but the event, which is run by the Asia Pacific Golf Federation with support from Augusta National and the R&A, wasn't necessarily created to strengthen the Masters field. It was created to "grow the game" in Asia and capitalize on golf's growth in the region.

The highest-ranked player in the Asian Amateur field, according to the R&A's World Amateur Golf Rankings, is No. 44 Daniel Nisbet of Australia. There are just 11 players in the field ranked in the top 200, and only four in the top 100 (see below). Many of the top players in the field aren’t Asian, either, but from Australia and New Zealand. The top three players in the field are Australian, and eight of the 11 top-200 players are either Australian or from New Zealand.