THE best amateur golfers in Australia are gracing the fairways of Country Club Tasmania this week.
Over four days the men will contest the Tasmanian Open while the women take part in the Elvie Whitesides.
Both tournaments hold Australian and world amateur ranking point status and Golf Tasmania operations manager Stuart Eaton said it was the first time they have been run in conjunction.
"They are two key national trial events and we've been working for a while for them to run concurrently because it makes sense," he said.
"We don't have to run two events at two different times any more."
Open favourites include teenager Ricky Kato, of New South Wales, who won at the same venue last year, state teammate Jordan Zunic, and South Australian Anthony Murdaca back in the city where he won the Australian Boys Amateur title in 2010.
The 80-strong field also includes representatives from France, Singapore and England.
Tasmanians to watch include Mowbray's John Cassidy, Launceston's James Pyke and Cory Crawford, now representing Queensland.
Having completed 36 holes by the end of today, the top 60 and ties will make the cut to play another 36 over the weekend.
A Tasmanian team will be selected at the end of the tournament by Gary Purdon and Don Cameron based on performances since January 1, 2012.
In the absence of reigning champion Minjee Lee, of Western Australia, the 27-strong field in the Elvie Whitesides is expected to see strong challenges from Lauren Hibbert, of New South Wales, who has the lowest handicap, and West Australian teenager Hayley Bettencourt.
Tournaments co-ordinator Ian Clarke said the weather was excellent and the course officials had done a commendable job despite the setback of being without water for irrigation for five days during January.