Date: March 14, 2017
Author: Matt Somerford

Rumford reignites old West Aussie rivalry

The West Australian men’s amateur team is set to revive an old rivalry as it prepares to try and win the Interstate Series for the first time since 1999.

The WA team will meet an all-star PGA WA outfit – headlined by 2017 ISPS Handa World Super 6 champion Brett Rumford – at Melville Glades on March 31.

The contest between pros and amateurs, previously a highlight of the local golfing calendar, has been brought back after a seven-year hiatus and will form a central part of the state team’s preparations for May’s Interstate Series.

WA will host both the men’s and women’s Interstate Series – with the men at Melville Glades from 9-12 May and women at Royal Fremantle from 9-11 May.

The men will, however, first compete against a strong eight-man PGA WA squad, which boasts more than 20 professional titles between them, and who are set to fly in from around the globe just to take on the amateurs.

The event is set to provide a showpiece of WA golf, following an extraordinary year for the sport in this state, with Rumford joined in the PGA WA team by the likes of newly crowned New Zealand PGA Championship winner Jarryd Felton as well as local favourites Daniel Fox and Jason Scrivener, who both reached the World Super 6 match play, and 2016 Vic Open winner Michael Long.

PGA WA/SA division state manager Kim Felton is eagerly anticipating the event – previously played from 1984-2010 – and in which he played during his amateur days.

“I am really proud and excited to have helped reignite the rivalry between both the PGA and Golf WA,” Felton said.

“As an amateur, the opportunity to play this event meant the world to me and my fellow team-mates as it was a great way to see how our games stood up against WA’s best professionals.

“I have fond memories of teeing it up against the likes of Terry Gale, Wayne Smith, Stephen Leaney and Greg Chalmers.

“I’m sure this year’s state team will enjoy the same opportunity against WA’s leading professionals.  Our boys are keen to show these kids who is boss and hold aloft the trophy in 2017.”

The match will be played in its traditional format, with foursomes to be played in the morning before eight singles matches in the afternoon.

GolfWA high performance co-ordinator Matt Nelson said it was a central part of preparations as the WA men’s state team aims to end its 18-year title wait on home soil.

“The return of the rivalry between the PGA and Golf WA is a key part of the masterplan for success,” he said.

“It gives the state team an opportunity to compete against arguably some of Australia’s top players while it will also provide a chance to test out the strategies prepared for the Melville Glades track in a high-pressure environment.

“Not only is it a significant event for our state team, but significant in furthering our great relationship with the PGA WA/SA division.

“I know the state teams will be out to prove a point – the preparation so far has been outstanding and I am excited to see our lads take it to the PGA."

The men’s and women’s WA state teams are set to be announced following the final round of the Amateur Championships of Western Australia at Gosnells Golf Club on Sunday 19 March.

The PGA WA squad is Brett Rumford, Daniel Fox, Brody Martin, Rick Kulacz, Jason Scrivener, Jarryd Felton, Steve Dartnall and Michael Long.