Ian Baker-Finch to Attend AAC Gala

Australian golfing legend Ian Baker-Finch will discuss his experiences in winning and competing in major championships with the next generation of top golfers at next month’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne.

The 1991 Open Champion will speak to the event’s competitors during a private reception at Melbourne Cricket Ground and will follow in the footsteps of Gary Player, Sir Nick Faldo and Ryo Ishikawa who have addressed players in previous years at the championship.

For the sixth time, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, founded by the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), Masters Tournament and The R&A, will gather the top amateur players to determine the region’s best golfer of the year. With an invitation to play in the 2015 Masters Tournament awaiting the winner, and a spot for both the winner and the runner(s)-up in next year’s Open Qualifying Series for The Open Championship at St Andrews at stake, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship will again aim to motivate players to aspire to play at the game’s highest level.

From 23 – 26 October, a 120-player field will compete in the 72-hole stroke play event on the Composite Course at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

“It is an honour to be invited to participate in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship,” said Baker-Finch. “I have been incredibly fortunate to share a connection with The R&A and the Masters Tournament for many years. It will be a tremendous pleasure for me to return to Australia to support the mission of this event and its ability to inspire growth and participation throughout this region of the world.”

Baker-Finch won his first professional title at the 1983 New Zealand Open at the age of 23. Before he retired in 1997, he collected 17 titles on the world’s four major tours, including his Open Championship win at Royal Birkdale in England. He also finished in the top 10 of the Masters Tournament three times in eight appearances.

Since retirement, Baker-Finch has become a well-known golf commentator in the United States, having worked for the ABC Network and ESPN from 1997 to 2006 before joining CBS Sports, where he is an annual contributor to the Masters broadcast team. A winner of the Australian Sports Medal in 2000, he was also recently chosen to lead the Australian team of golfers who qualify to compete in the upcoming 2016 Olympics.

“As we endeavour to develop future generations of golfers, it is essential to celebrate the game’s best role models,” said Dr. David Cherry, Chairman of the APGC. “Ian Baker-Finch, throughout his career, is the quintessential example of what the game of golf can provide someone with a love for the sport and commitment to hard work, both on and off the course.”