WA Open returns after pandemic break

Royal Freemantle Golf Club

After an 18-month absence due to the pandemic and border restrictions, the time-honored Nexus Advisernet WA Open is back, with Golf WA expecting a bumper field to tee it up at Royal Fremantle Golf Club from 28 April to 1 May.

 Golf WA Chief Executive Gary Thomas said relaxation of restrictions meant that it would finally be possible to resume professional golf in Perth, with the Open following immediately after the WA PGA Championship at Kalgoorlie.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have our flagship event back on the calendar, and we’re ready to go,” Thomas said.

“The thought of having top-level golf returning on a brilliant course and with fans able to watch is something that we might have taken for granted in the past, but certainly not now.

“We’ve all gained perspective from the past 18 months to two years but we’re moving forward in a positive way, starting at Royal Fremantle later this month. It’s going to be amazing to have what we love back at centre-stage and we can’t wait.”

This will be a deferred 2021 iteration of the Open, meaning that with another one planned for October, 2022, there will be two WA Opens played in the one calendar year. This will be the 97th playing of the event.

The most recent WA Open was played in October, 2020, when local amateur Hayden Hopewell trumped the pros by winning.

But the 2021 Open had to be deferred from October to December, and then to April 2022, because of the tight WA border restrictions and the difficulty in getting players into the State to play the event.

The tournament is part of the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season, which is building to a crescendo with its Order Of Merit champion to be determined.

After the Nexus Advisernet WA Open there is just one more event, the Northern Territory PGA Championship at Palmerston in May, to complete the season.

Thomas said the addition of three playing cards for the DP World Tour for the top three players on the OOM had added interest to the conclusion of the season.

Queenslander Jed Morgan has a runaway lead at the top after his win in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, but there is a cluster of players in the chasing pack seeking European playing rights.

“That’s a big carrot for any player and we think it will improve the quality of our field at Royal Fremantle,” he said.

“If you look at it, the Order of Merit could well be decided at our event and we’d love to see a big finish.”

The WA Open was first played in 1913.

It has been won by the likes of Gary Player (1956), Greg Norman (1984), Kel Nagle (1950-52), Graham Marsh, Ian Baker-Finch, Kim Felton (three times), Stephen Leaney and Terry Gale (six times).

Original Source: Martin Blake/Australian Golf Media

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