en Macpherson turned up for the WA Open at Cottesloe this week feeling tired, but that’s understandable.
Macpherson, a member of Golf Australia’s rookie squad of young professionals, has played two events in a row in China, where he has been plying his trade this year, and they were followed by 35 hours of travel to reach Perth, with long layovers in Beijing and Sydney.
“It hasn’t been the best preparation, but that’s okay,’’ Macpherson told golf.org.au today. “I guess I’d rather be laying on a beach in Perth than sitting around airport lounges.’’
The 24-year-old Melburnian has had an interesting year on the circuit to say the least, with some severe highs and lows.
The highs have included four consecutive top-10 finishes on the China Tour that have him well-placed.
The lows included a disastrous performance at the British Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, where he had qualified by finishing tied-fourth in the Emirates Australian Open.
Macpherson’s opening 90 in the oldest tournament in the world of golf was the highest first-round score for 15 years.
But he took it stoically, speaking openly about the need to learn from the experience. His performances in China show that he has moved on.
“The way I look at it, everything is an opportunity to prove something about yourself,’’ he said.
“In that case, it was a chance to prove how mentally tough that I am. It’s just not the end of the world. The reality is that it was so bad that I don’t even have to question my ability. There’s no way that I’m that bad a player. So I just went away and did some hard work, I had three or four events coming up and I focused on those.’’
As it happened, he ended up in China, playing the PGA China Tour. MacPherson, who won the British amateur championship in 2011, had missed out at the Asian Tour qualifying school and was pondering his immediate future when he received a phone call from an Australia PGA official offering up the China opportunity.
“I was thinking ‘where am I going now?’ And then I got that phonecall. They said that there was a chance a few people could play there, and I just felt it was a great opportunity.’’
The Australian qualified and he has not looked back, playing nine events all over China. In his last four starts, he has finished seventh, sixth, second and fourth,
“There are a bunch of Aussies here, I’d say about 10 regulars and half a dozen others who drop in and out, guys like Jamie Arnold and Stephen Dartnell. I had a slow start, but it’s been good since then.’’
Macpherson is playing the WA Open then the ISPS Handa Perth International at Lake Karrinyup next week, before returning to China for some more golf. Already into the final stage of web.com Tour qualifying, to be played in December in Florida, he can secure a spot on that tour in 2015 by finishing in the top-five on the PGA China Tour money list.
That is his aim. Macpherson is desperate to get back to America, and he is happy with the improvement in his game in the latter part of the year. “My big improvement has been my ball-striking this year. It’s not like I’m hitting it crazy-longer, but I’ve reached a point where I can look at a spot and my ball goes there most of the time.
“For me, it’s about getting myself into positon where I can use my short game. I need to be using short game to win tournaments, not just to save myself.’’
The WA Open tees off tomorrow at Cottesloe, with some of Australia’s best professionals in the field playing for $100,000 prizemoney.