Lonard lines up for Merewether Pro-Am

US PGA Tour winner Peter Lonard will make his return to competitive golf next Tuesday at the Merewether Pro-Am.

The two-time Australian Open and three-time Australian PGA Championship winner has been out of action since the New Zealand Open in January after having hip and knee surgery.

Lonard, a two-time Australian Masters champion, had planned to return to the US Nationwide Tour this month but could not gain entry to any of the tournaments.

Instead, he will use Merewether and other NSW pro-am events as a chance to regain his touch before stage two of the US PGA Tour School qualifiers in November.

"I had thought there may be opportunities to get starts but it is looking increasingly unlikely, so I will stay here and continue to work on my fitness, maybe play a couple of pro-ams then head over in late October," Lonard said on his official website.

"It's all a bit of an unknown quantity at present as I really have not played a lot of golf as such over the past eight months or so."

The Merewether Pro-Am was rescheduled after rain washed out the event in August.

As of yesterday, 68 golfers had nominated for the two-round event, which carries a prize purse of $17,500, but none will carry the record that Lonard possesses.

"It's great, it's a bit of a drawcard," Merewether club professional Peter Johnston said.

"It [the washout] may have turned out all right and hopefully we get a few people here watching him.

"It will be worth it, because he's played on the US tour and couple of Australian PGAs, so he's definitely a good player.

"He might not be at his peak yet but he'll go all right."

Lonard has full exemption for the 2011 Nationwide Tour but he hopes he will not have to use it.

If he finishes in the top 25 at the end of Q-School, he will regain the PGA Tour card he lost last year.

Lonard has worked with fitness instructors from his favourite NRL club, the Canterbury Bulldogs, during his recovery from surgery.

The 43-year-old from Epping turned professional in 1988 and has won $20 million in prizemoney.

He has nine PGA Tour of Australasia victories and won his sole US PGA tournament in 2005.

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