By Mark Hayes, Golf Australia
ONE of Australia’s brightest golfing prospects is turning professional after a summer he’ll never forget.
Melbourne’s Todd Sinnott, 22, has ended his amateur days after securing his PGA Tour of Australasia playing card with a second-placed finish at last week’s Q-School at Victoria Golf Club.
The Golf Australian national squad, Victorian Institute of Sport and Golf Victoria ace thrilled huge audiences with eye-catching performances in the Australian Masters and Emirates Australian Open in November.
The big-hitting Metropolitan member led both events at stages during memorable weeks, confirming to he and his support crew that his game was up to the professional tour’s demands.
“Like most amateurs, I really wanted to go pro as soon as I could and for me that was about three years ago – and I was in a hurry back then,” Sinnott said.
“But I’m really grateful I’ve got some great people around me – (coach) Marty (Joyce) and the GA guys – who taught me to be patient and that there was no point turning until my game was ready.
“I see now that if I’d gone back then I wouldn’t have been ready, whereas now I think I have had the exposure in pro events and to some of the best players in the world so I know exactly where I stand.”
Sinnott’s dance card during November was filled by the who’s who of world golf. He shared rounds with Adam Scott, Australian Open champion Jordan Spieth, US Tour players Steve Bowditch and Boo Weekley, European Tour veteran Richard Green and world No.1 Rory McIlroy in a whirlwind of media attention to which he reacted admirably.
“That was an awesome and massive learning experience to see what these guys do up close. It helped me realise I was finally ready to go.”
Sinnott’s first tournament as a pro will be the Oates Victorian Open at 13th Beach from February 5-8 – the first of five events in a six-week introductory stretch.
He then plans to spend part of winter in Europe, hoping for several starts on the European Tour’s secondary Challenge Tour – and planning to do whatever it takes to advance his dream of eventually reaching the US PGA Tour.
“I don’t have any winning tournament goals. There are plenty of different pathways to get there and what I have to do is stick to my routines and improve my world ranking as much as possible,” he said.
“I think I’ve shown my game can compete – I was leading the Aussie Open halfway through the third round – so it’s just a matter of playing my own game and feeling comfortable out there.”
Golf Australia high performance director Brad James said Sinnott’s desire to have his game in professional shape before his decision would benefit his career.
“Todd has all the tools to be a world-class player, so the fact that he’s taken time to hone these will give him every chance to have success at international level,” James said.
“Golf Victoria and the VIS have played a massive role in the development of Todd’s game – these resources and his attitude will hold him in good stead in years to come.”
Joyce, Sinnott’s long-time mentor as well as the VIS head golf coach, said his power-hitting protégé had the game to not only compete, but entertain.
“Fans will one day go to tournaments just to see this guy drive a ball – he’s a very exciting guy to watch,” Joyce said.
“But he’s more than that – he’s really developed his course management now so he can not only blast the ball, but score the way you need to so you can compete at pro level.”
Golf Victoria high performance manager Ashley Marshall said he was sure Sinnott would make a splash professionally.
“Todd has proven himself not only to be a winner at all levels of the amateur game, but also a great leader,” Marshall said.
“His talents will be missed and I’m sure all Victorian golf fans will follow his progress in the professional game with interest.”
Sinnott, who until recently was a part-time ball collector at an Essendon driving range, was consistent in 2014, finishing runner-up at the Australian Master of the Amateurs and the time-honoured Riversdale Cup before his pro tournament success.
His top-10 finish at the WA Open before bold showings in two of Australia’s tier one events were ultimately vital in his decision.
“I’ve been working on course management a lot and understanding my own game a lot better, so when you see it come together like that, I think it’s the right time.”