Date: October 29, 2012

Grant Report – Victorians win US PGA Cards

Victorians Alistair Presnell and Cameron Percy, along with Scott Gardiner from New South Wales, have graduated to the US PGA Tour for 2013.

The trio made their way to the elite circuit by finishing in the top 25 on the secondary tour following the tour’s championship finale in McKinney, Texas, on Sunday.

Presnell, a former air conditioning mechanic, and Gardiner, will be making their first trip to the top level, while Percy had stints there in 2010-11.

Presnell, 33, finished a lowly 55th in the tour ender at the weekend but had already assured himself of a spot in the leading 25 on the prizemoney list to advance.

It will make up for the disaster of three years ago when he went into the season closing event right on the cut-off point in 25th place and slid to 28th after some late bogeys.

Before the tournament, Presnell was confident but not overly happy with the way he was playing.

"Although it hasn’t been an overly successful full season my game has come into shape just at the right time and I’m very much looking forward to this weekend," Presnell told AAP.

Presnell admited nerves might hold him back – and apparently they did – but he had enough room to move given his previous money earnt.

"Making the tour will mean everything to me," Presnell said. "It’s been my dream since I was a kid when I grew up watching Greg Norman, Steve Elkington, Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby on the PGA Tour.

"It’s not possible to keep out of my mind, it’s right there in front of me…

"To have the PGA Tour badge alongside your name and to know I’ve made it to the pinnacle would be all I could hope for."

Gardiner spent eight years on the secondary circuit trying to make the main tour and now hopes to become a role model for Aboriginal sports people.

The 36-year-old had a similar experience to Presnell in 2010 when he was in 26th spot on the money list and a late double bogey in the last round left him just over $2000 short of a tour card.

"It’s great to officially be in," Gardiner said.

"I’ve been pretty comfortable for a while which has allowed me to enjoy the last few events this year and now I can’t wait for January to get out there on the big stage and play with some of the guys I’ve known and seen make the transition for years.

"There is certainly some relief. Until you actually get there you never really know if you’re ever going to make it.

"I have had some really close calls in the past but I always felt I played as well as I could and really couldn’t have done much different to change the result. Other guys just seemed to nail it over the top of me.

"But now I am there and it’s a big thrill for me and my parents who are over here this week and who always supported my dreams."

Gardiner, born of an Aboriginal mother and Scottish father, hoped to inspire others as the first indigenous Australian to represent on golf’s biggest stage.

"I am very proud…it’s a great feeling," he said.

"Golf has become more popular the last 10-15 years with Tiger Woods bringing attention to the game and in turn more Aboriginal people are aware of it.

"Hopefully I can help inspire a few others to go for a career in golf and I hope I can be a role model."

By: Robert Grant