RENEWED: Nathan Green at home with his family this week.WHEN world No.1 Luke Donald became the first man to top the money list on the US and European tours in the same year, Nathan Green rejoiced.
Nanjing Night Net

For too long Green had watched players with booming drives dominate world golf at the expense of fellows such as himself who could not match them off the tee.

Donald’s ability to navigate a course and use his whole golf bag well has been an inspiration for the Toronto touring professional.

‘‘I think it’s good for guys like me that Luke Donald has had such a great year,’’ he said.

‘‘It had become a big hitter’s tour, the American tour, and he has come and played limited events and dominated.

‘‘There’s still room for a guy with a good wedge game who can manage his game well.’’

Green will be one of 119 starters gunning for Donald today when the Australian Masters begins at the Victoria Golf Club, in Melbourne.

Green will tee off with Peter Senior and Stephen Allen in the afternoon on a high after his dramatic last-ditch qualification through the Q-School for next year’s US PGA Tour last week.

‘‘It’s totally different down there,’’ he said of the Victoria Golf Club layout.

‘‘It usually has faster greens than what I’m used to.

‘‘I like it down there as I’ve played decent before.

‘‘I’m feeling pretty decent about the game after last week, so hopefully I can take a lot out of it.’’

TAB Sportsbet has listed Donald as the $5 favourite to win the Masters, followed by Australians Geoff Ogilvy ($9) and Robert Allenby ($13).

In Green’s opinion, Donald deserves favouritism.

‘‘Luke Donald has had an unbelievable year,’’ he said.

‘‘To win both those money lists and do it convincingly makes him a big draw.

‘‘The way he’s been playing, he’s the one to beat.’’

Charlestown’s James Nitties will tee off in the group after Green and is listed at $41 to win the Masters.

In 2009, the then US PGA Tour cardholder finished fifth in the event at Kingston Heath behind superstar Tiger Woods.

Going into the fourth day Nitties held the lead with Woods and Greg Chalmers at 10 under before a final round of one-over 73 ruined his challenge.

Kurt Barnes is perhaps the Hunter’s best chance of snaring the gold jacket given the big-hitting Muswellbrook man’s form over the past 12months.

Victories on the Japanese and OneAsia tours were followed by a tie for second at the NSW PGA Championship and 14th place at the Australian Open in November.

Barnes will tee off in the morning group from the 10th tee with Australian veterans Craig Parry and Stuart Appleby.

Waratah’s Leigh McKechnie and Belmont’s Brendan Smith round out the Hunter contingent at the Masters.