Date: July 24, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Elite players at Houston camp

Australia’s top amateur golfers, as well as some of the best young professionals, are completing a week in Golf Australia’s annual camp in Houston, Texas.

Golf Australia’s high performance director Brad James had 35 athletes under his direction at Woodlands Country Club today, a record number.

The camp finishes over the weekend. Two staff members from Japan Golf attended the camp to see how it operates.

Outside of Golf Australia’s national squad there are a number of golfers from state squads and two young professionals who have worked through GA’s programs – Oliver Goss and Su Oh – who are playing on secondary pro tours in the US this year.

It is the fifth year that Golf Australia has conducted the camp in Houston, leading into big amateur events such as the Western Amateur and the US Amateur championship.

“It’s a good chance for them to check in,’’ said James. “You get the national squad, all the state squads, it’s a mixture of all the squads. It’s a chance for them to check in physically, emotionally, technically. They can check in with where their game is at, and it’s preparing for some of the bigger events and further down the line.’’

Melburnian Oh was a good case in point. After a great amateur career including a win for Australia at the Queen Sirikit Cup and the Australian Ladies Masters, Oh has struggled in her early period as a pro on the Symetra Tour.  “She’s probably been struggling more off the course than on the course,’’ said James. “So for her, it was a good one. Denis McDade (her coach) was here for a couple of days. She’s getting used to the travel and what goes with it. So the camp’s an opportunity for her to see how she can do it better.’’

One player who was listed to attend the camp but who did not attend was Ryan Ruffels, the reigning Australian boys’ champion, who went off to play on invitation at the Canadian Open. As it happened, Ruffels is tied-fourth through  one round after a 66, an astonishing performance for a 17-year-old..

 “It was impressive,’’ said James. “He got the call-up to play and any time you get that opportunity you’ve got to take it. He took full advantage of that today.’’

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