re's a triple treat in store this week at Howlong and Thurgoona Golf Clubs for the NSW Open Regional Qualifying tournament in the form of the Rios-Ceballos brothers. Douglas, Andrew and Cameron Rios-Ceballos are making the drive down the Hume Highway and are intent on grabbing the first invitation on offer to amateurs for the 2016 NSW Open Championship.
The brothers call Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club home, and after watching the action going on at their home course from outside the ropes over the last two years, they feel it's time to try their luck and grab an invitation into this year's Championship.
When it comes to competition for that coveted invitation, there'll be no love lost between the three. "We have our battles out there," Andrew smiled. "I'm on scratch, Douglas is on one, and now Cameron is on four. There's always competition. We always try and compete against one another," Andrew laughed.
One marker Douglas is the current Junior and Club Champion. The 18-year-old is looking forward to the opportunity of grabbing a spot in this year's Open. "It's a good opportunity, just the experience of it, especially as it's our home course. I'd have a little bit of an advantage I guess and hopefully a few members would come out and watch."
Like his younger sibling, Andrew sees the chance as a real opportunity. "I'm excited to see how we cope with it," he grinned. The pair see the qualifying tournament as a chance to sharpen their games before they jet off to the USA to spend two years studying in college while pursuing their golfing dream.
"We've been practicing hard to get our game up to the college level over there. This is a good chance to see how well we can go," Douglas said.
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Despite spotting his brothers a few years in age and experience, youngest brother Cameron is ready to rub some salt into their wounds if he does grab the Open invitation. "It's rare I beat them, but I like to rub it in when I do," he laughed.
The 14-year-old has been playing for four years, and has lowered his handicap to a tidy 4 mark. "I've been playing in the Jack Newton events, and I'm looking forward to being a pro one day."
As for the qualifying event, Cameron is prepared to take whatever happens in his stride. "I'm just looking at it for the experience and how to play with the pressure," he smiled. "I've wanted to try and qualify, but couldn't until now."
The boys were in awe of Victorian Ben Eccles' performance in taking out the 2015 Championship. "He just showed that working hard will help you achieve anything. At that age being an amateur it just proves anyone can do it, not just because you're a pro," Andrew said.
Finally, when pressed on which one of them is ready to follow Eccles' footsteps the answer was unanimous, "All of us!" they laughed.