Date: December 02, 2015
Author: Tom Fee

GolfWA coach tackles PGA Champs

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If you happen to play WA Golf Club this week you might notice the pro-shop's Boss is Away Sale, declaring massive savings in the absence of head professional Vernon Sexton-Finck.

What the sign isn't telling you, is that Vernon is off to play the Australian PGA Championship — his first tour event in eight years.

Sexton-Finck's start is off the back of a runner-up finish at last month's PGA Professionals Championship at Hamilton Island, where he netted $5,330 in winnings on top of the coveted start this week.

The novelty of playing one of the biggest events on the Australian calendar isn't lost on the 2015 WA state coach, bringing over his wife and one year old daughter to enjoy the festivities.

"It’s been a long time between drinks, so it’s good to see some familiar faces again," said Sexton-Finck.

"These events always have such an exciting vibe to them. It’s been an enjoyable few days and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow."

Despite the excitement, Sexton-Finck says he just plans on enjoying the week with no plans to return to tour golf.

"It’s difficult now with a one year old, and I don’t want to spend too much time away from her and my wife, so at the moment it’s secondary." said Finck.

"I love playing the game but I just don’t have the time to practice as much. It’s just a matter of enjoying it, and I guess I’ve got nothing to lose!"

That care-free attitude may pay off, with RACV Royal Pines primed to test the field after an $11 million redevelopment earlier in the year.

"It’s just a completely different golf course. In the past it had big flat greens and the course was shorter," said Sexton-Finck.

"Now the course is just over 6700m and the greens are really undulating, and there’s drop-offs everywhere. The greens are firm and they can tuck a few pins in the pockets that you just can’t reach.

"We’ve had some rain over here today, so hopefully the greens have softened, as some pins you can’t even go at with a pitching wedge."

This is Sexton-Finck's third career start in a Triple Crown event, having made the cut at his previous appearances at the Australian PGA and Australian Masters. Since then he's spent some of his time coaching the WA women's side, with his team finishing runner-up at this year's Interstate Series.

Sexton-Finck represented WA eight times as an amateur, and is joined by former WA teammates Brett Rumford, Scott Strange and Michael Sim in this week's field. While Rumford finished T8 at last week's Emirates Australian Open, Finck highly rates the chances of surging Sim.

"Simmy's been playing great golf this summer and lives over here now," said Sexton-Finck.

"He'll be used to these conditions, and will be able to handle the different types of surfaces."

As for his own expectations, Sexton-Finck is less optimistic.

"My game’s been good and I struck it really well in both practice rounds — but I’m certainly not going to win."

"Well, I was told I'm paying 500 to 1, so I guess that means I'm a chance! The priority is to have fun and enjoy it."

And if all goes well, this club professional hopes to return home with a bit of money in his pocket, and a lot more in the till of the pro-shop.

"Hopefully the shop will be empty by the time I get home."

"We're building a new pro-shop so I'd like to come in with a fresh batch of stock. In the meantime we’re giving away a few good bargains for Christmas!"