Perth International Golf 2013: Players to Watch at Lake Karrinyup Country Club

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Perth International Golf 2013: Players to Watch at Lake Karrinyup Country Club
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Perth's Lake Karrinyup Country Club hosts the opening day of the Perth International Golf Championship 2013 on Thursday, October 17.

Offering golfers on the European Tour a potential boost to their Race to Dubai standings, the tournament is set to be a hotly contested and international affair, bringing together stars from the U.S., Europe and the Southern Hemisphere to compete.

If glory alone isn't enough to drive up interest in Australia, the potential prize purse of $2 million should whet the appetites of any entrants struggling for motivation.

Below are five players to watch in Perth this year, with details of their first-day tee times (all times BST).

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Dustin Johnson: 23:30 (October 16), Tee 10 with Bo Van Pelt and Brett Rumford

The big-hitter from the United States goes into the tournament as the bookies' favourite, teeing off early on the Thursday morning alongside last year's winner Bo Van Pelt and Brett Rumford.

After missing out on the Presidents Cup, Johnson has had time to rest and prepare himself for the four-day event, which he is tipped to dominate.

Currently placed No. 21 in the world rankings, the American's most recent performances before his time off didn't lack impact. He won the Tournament of Champions and finished joint second at the Canadian Open.

With seven PGA Tour career wins to his name already, Johnson may be on course for victory in Perth come the final day on Sunday, October 20.

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Brett Rumford23:30 (October 16), Tee 10 with Bo Van Pelt and Dustin Johnson

Australia's greatest hope for a homegrown winner, Brett Rumford will be eyeing up his chances of snatching victory in Perth to ascend the European ranks, with The Race to Dubai finale looming next month.

This year, he was the 31st golfer to record back-to-back wins on the European Tour, with victories at the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea and Volvo China Open in April. The Australian will be hoping to add yet another tournament to his name before the year is out.

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
With Dubai and its $8 million prize fund on the horizon, he will at least be striving to produce a consistent week of golf to keep him in the upper echelons of the European money list.

An early tee off against favourite Dustin Johnson should offer up plenty of intrigue and comparisons between the two contenders.

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Paul Casey: 04:10, Tee 1 with Mathew Goggin and Branden Grace

England's Paul Casey recorded a top-five finish in Perth last year and could be in the running for an even stronger showing in 2013.

His performance in the 2012 tournament sparked something of a personal renaissance for the pro, as it became the launchpad to his Irish Open success in June.

The title win at Carlton House and his third-round total of 62 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship highlight the threat posed by Casey to the rest of the field.

He is by no means one of the favourites in Perth, but if he's able to find his footing and showcase his quality, the Englishman may be an outside bet to take the championship.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Chris Doak: 04:40, Tee 1 with Kieran Pratt and Wade Ormsby

Another Brit to watch out for is Scotland's Chris Doak, who arrives in Australia following his surprise performance at the Portugal Masters.

Ranked at No. 105 in The Race to Dubai, Doak is in a scramble to secure his status and full playing rights on the European Tour for next season; however, his potency in the Algarve showed that the Scot isn't panicking. Instead, he is focusing on turning any desperation into greater quality and composure around the golf course.

He will be gunning for another unexpectedly high finish in Perth to help him take a big leap toward making the cut before the Dubai climax next month.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Fredrik Andersson Hed: 04:30, Tee 1 with Michael Sim and Daniel Popovic

Sweden's Fredrik Andersson Hed faces a similar situation to Doak, as he currently sits outside of the Top 110 in The Race to Dubai.

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Will the Swede be able to cook up a storm in Australia?
Like the Scot too, his golf of late has been above the level that his current ranking suggests.

Both golfers' respective predicaments have come down to poor form over the season. While Doak may have been able to place himself a little closer to safety in Portugal, his feat may have been unsustainable.

Instead, Andersson Hed could be the comeback man Down Under.

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