DARLINGTON’S Ellie Givens will look to build on a confident start to her Ladies European Tour season today when she starts her first professional appearance in Australia.

Givens impressed with a solid 33rd place finish at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open last weekend in Christchurch and she has made the flight over to Queensland this week.

The Rockliffe Hall ladies touring pro carded a three round total of 217 on her first outing of the year and will be looking to build on that at the VOLVIK RACV Ladies Masters.

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She was due to go out with Australia’s Lee Park and Belgian Chloe Leurquin in her opening round this morning in a competition in which the likes of Solheim Cup golfers Laura Davies and Trish Johnson are all competing.

THE region’s four competitors on the European Tour are also in action this week after flying straight to South Africa from the Middle East.

After mixed fortunes in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Graeme Storm, Rob Dinwiddie, John Parry and Simon Dyson are all at the Joburg Open.

Only Malton & Norton’s Simon Dyson made the cut in the outing in Dubai when he carded a four-round total of 278 to finish tied 22nd.

But Hartlepool’s Graeme Storm (150), Barnard Castle’s Rob Dinwiddie (148) and Harrogate’s John Parry (155) were all well out of contention and did not even make the cut.

But they are all in Johannesburg in the hope of banking some early season money at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Clubs with a prize pot of €1.4m up for grabs.

A TOTAL of 32 amateur club golfers from across the UK and Ireland head off to Portugal this week to enjoy some welcome sunshine and to compete in the grand final of the 2013 National Matchplay Championship (February 9-15).

The participants include the reigning mixed pairs champions, Eileen McMullan and Gary Catt, from Richmond, North Yorkshire, who will be looking to defend the title they worked so hard to claim last year.

And ten-handicapper Chris Wall, from Middlesbrough, who is looking to regain the singles title he last won in 2011.

Four competitions culminate in the grand final at the Quinta do Lago resort, on the Algarve - singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs, for those aged 50 or more - with a total of 32 golfers, from across the UK fighting it out for the titles.

All of the competitors battled their way through at least four local rounds and a regional final during 2013, to reach the grand final of a competition which is open to anybody who is a member of an affiliated club with an officially recognised handicap.

This year's event achieved a staggering number of entries with more than 1,400 golfers starting out in the early rounds before the four regional finals in October last year.