Date: April 20, 2016
Author: Tom Fee, GolfWA

Locals have high WA Open hopes

Haydn Barron and Vernon Sexton-Finck lead the hopes of WA Golf Club when it hosts the Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open from the 28th of April.

Alongside WAGC club champion Adam Chemello, Barron and Sexton-Finck will put their local knowledge to the test as they try and upstage the field of PGA Tour of Australasia regulars.

Barron gets his start as a member of the WA State Team, while Seton-Finck is a sponsors invite, and as the WAGC head professional he's shwon he’s still capable of competing at the top level having qualified for last year’s Australian PGA Championship.

While local knowledge can go a long way, WAGC is shaping up as a different beast with the rough growing wild in some areas – and it’s a challenge that both are embracing.

“It’s great to have it at WA Golf Club this year, and even better for both of us to get a run so it should be a good week,” said Haydn Barron.

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the course this good. The rough is pretty brutal out there, and the greens will be firming up and getting a bit quicker as well so I think a bit of course knowledge will do me well — but obviously I’ve still got to show up and play golf."

Barron has shown some good form in recent months, including a semi-final appearance at last month's State Amateur that secured the 21-year-old a state selection.

“I’ve been playing pretty steady, I’ve been building up my practice going into the next couple of weeks,” said Barron.

“I’m just trying to do a little bit more than normal and grind a few things in, so I’m really excited.”

While tour golf is a thing of the past for Sexton-Finck, he still enjoys the opportunity to play at that level when the opportunity presents. Even though his job as a teaching professional means he doesn't have much time to focus on his own game, Sexton-Finck has built up some unwanted expectations from the member base after shooting 62 in a recent club competition.

“It’s nice to obviously shoot a number like that, but it doesn’t happen very often,” said Sexton-FInck.

“Some members are expecting me to win now because of it but I’m just going to go out there and play golf like I did in that round and see what happens.

“I haven’t had the chance to play golf in the last couple of weeks — with the new proshop coming in I’ve just been flat out doing other things so I haven’t even touched a club in a little while so.”

Sexton-Finck echoed Barron’s sentiments on the course and praised WA Golf Club’s head greens-keeper Idris Evans that has gone into the preparation for the event.

“It’s softened up with the rain in the last couple of days and the rough is looking pretty nasty,” said Sexton-Finck.

“I think that will test a lot of the players. It’s certainly in great shape and Idris has done a great job so I’m really looking forward to it.”