TWO of Australia’s best club pros will get a shot at the big time with a start in the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum.
The chance to play alongside the likes of Vijay Singh, Geoff Ogilvy and the cream of Australasian golf will be an added bonus for the top two finishers at next week’s PGA Professionals Championship, which will tee off on Wednesday at the Sandhurst Club in Victoria.
The PGA Professionals Championship, an evolution of the previous Club Pro Championship, is the PGA of Australia’s premier vocational members event.
Next Friday afternoon will not only herald the crowning of the 2009 Champion but will see who gets to line up for the Australian PGA Championship at the Hyatt Regency.
“This is a great opportunity for our vocational members to get a chance to line up and mix it with the best, particularly this year as we are now a part of the OneAsia Series,” said Max Garske, CEO of the PGA of Australia.
“Our members at all levels are getting more and varied opportunities to play in big events and we are delighted to be able to provide this added incentive and opportunity for our members.”
The national title for PGA vocational (club based & industry) members will be held at Sandhurst for the first time from September 14-18 and pits 50 of Australia’s best club professionals against each other to battle for a prize purse of $AUS60,000 over three rounds (54 holes).
After qualifying events were held in July in Queensland followed by other state qualifying events in August, the field is now determined and will be led by last year’s Club Pro Champion Bryan Roach.
Roach returns to defend the crown he won for the first time at Twin Waters last year. The 38 year old shot a sizzling 11-under par over two rounds to claim the title by two shots from New South Welshman Graeme Stockley with Queenslander Lee Hunt coming in third.
Featuring this year are 2009 State Qualifying Champions David Gammon from Kogarah Golf Club in NSW, Jason Russell from Launceston Golf Club in Tasmania, Michael Sprengel from Kooyonga Golf Club in South Australia, Russell Smith from Jindalee Golf Club in Queensland, local talent Alex Tahin from Eastern Golf Club in Victoria and Tony Mills from Wembley Golf Complex in WA.
For 38 year old Mills, who spends the majority of his week teaching whilst working on his own game, the chance to line up at Coolum in December is enough to get him fired up for next week’s event. A former touring professional from 1993-2001 Mills never played the Australian PGA Championship and is using that unfulfilled ambition as an added incentive.
“I’ve just started to play well recently and am feeling a lot more confident in my game so I am really looking forward to next week. It will be my first PGA Pros Final and it’s always been a goal of mine to win the national title,” said Mills. “Now that I know the Australian PGA Championship spots are up for grabs its even greater reason for me to fulfill another goal I always had.”
The 2009 PGA Professionals Championship is proudly supported by three presenting sponsors in Coca-Cola, Club Car and Acushnet (with brands Titleist, Footjoy and Cobra).