When Daniel Gale peruses his approaching golf program, he has to collect his thoughts and reassure himself that he is about to play the biggest events on the Australian golfing calendar.
“This time last year I hadn’t even won the Keperra Bowl,” recalls the rookie pro who will return to Queensland next month to play the 2018 Isuzu Queensland Open at The Brisbane Golf Club.
“That was my biggest win as an amateur, and the catalyst for me to turn professional. This past year, and the few months ahead, still seems like a dream.”
Not only will be the 22-year from Castle Hill in Sydney play the Isuzu Queensland Open, but also the Victorian PGA, the NSW Open, the Australian Open and the Australian PGA – all between now and Christmas.
And he views this upcoming program as his key to the future.
“Obviously I’m excited to be playing these prestigious events, and I realise there will probably be some distractions. But I’m still there to win,” he said.
“I have just returned from the US trying to pre-qualify for some Web.com tour events next year, but failed to get past the first stage of qualifying. Some good results here in the next few months will set me up for another crack next year.”
But while Gale may have missed out on his Web.com card – he shot six-under and 11 under was the cut-off – he has full status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of 2019.
That exemption came via a magnificent win in the Papua New Guinea Open in April, when he shot 23-under at Port Moresby to win by nine strokes. The win followed victory the previous week in the Morobe Open at Lae.
“That was an unbelievable experience,” he enthused.
“Both courses were much different to anything I had played previously, and different to each other,” he said.
“To go back-to-back, so early in my pro career, was a massive thrill and confidence booster. And to shoot a personal best of 22-under one week and beat that with 23-under seven days later is just insane, and the kind of stuff you dream about.
“Those wins definitely kick-started my career and I will always have a soft spot for PNG.”
Not only did Gale go back-to-back for his opening professional victories, but he became the first player to win on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series and PNG Open in successive weeks since Michael Wright in 2009.
But while he likes PNG, he also has great memories of The Brisbane Golf Club, where he will tee it up in the Isuzu Queensland Open from November 1-14. This will be his third start in the event, and his fourth outing on the course.
“As a member of the NSW State Team in 2016 we won the Australian Interstate Series at Brisbane, and I still clearly recall how good that felt,” he said.
“Brisbane is tough, and unrelenting, but I enjoy the course and the challenge. I know that to score well there I have to keep my head on and remain focused.”
Gale says he has a definite game plan for the course, where he finished tied 50th last year and the missed the cut in 2016.
“In the opening two rounds last year I had two triples, which really cost me. That just can’t happen again,” he said.
“But while you need to be cautious, the course has to be attacked if you want to win. It presents the test of golf I enjoy.”
The 2018 Isuzu Queensland Open will be played from 1 – 4 November at The Brisbane Golf Club. Visit the website for more information.