Date: May 31, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Youngsters hit world stage

It’s a big week for a host of Aussie youngsters eager to take their next step around the globe.

Golf Australia high performance director Brad James said while the spotlight of major championships was turned off for a few days, the importance of this weekend for the next wave shouldn’t be understated.

Along with the usual chorus of Aussies on the US PGA Tour, new pros Curtis Luck, Ryan Ruffels and Brett Coletta are all at “Jack’s Place” for the Memorial Tournamentin Ohio, as is PGA of Australia stalwart Matt Griffin, courtesy of his Order of Merit win on the domestic circuit last year.

Rising amateurs Matias Sanchez and Cameron John, the Australian Amateur and Australian Junior champions, respectively, will tee up in the Korean Open on the OneAsia Tour.

In Europe, in addition to the strong bunch of Aussie regulars at the Nordea Masters on the European Tour, the Scottish Strokeplay Championship will feature no fewer than 11 young Aussies all itching to stamp their authority on the Western Gailes Golf Club near Troon on the country’s magical west coast.

West Australians Haydn Barron and Ben Ferguson, New South Welshmen Harrison Endycott, Travis Smyth, James Grierson and US college-based Alexander Henderson, and Victorians Zach Murray, Kyle Michel, Will Heffernan, David Micheluzzi and Blake Collyer will all try to emulate John’s victory a year ago as they prepare for next week’s St Andrews Links Trophy.

“Obviously we wish all the seasoned pros well, too,” James said.

“But this week represents a big opportunity for a lot of our next generation.

“Curtis and Ryan have already begun to find their feet on the US PGA Tour, and we’d love Brett to start feeling at home when he gets these opportunities, too.

“A big pro start for Cam and Matias in Korea is a great chance for them to measure the progress of their games.

“And then so many of our brightest amateurs in Scotland where they all love to be at this time of year.

“Harrison came so close to qualifying for the US Open earlier in the week in England, so we look to him and all his mates there to shine again in Scotland.

“These chances aren’t common, so it’s important that all the guys take them when they present – not necessarily to win, but to learn from the international opportunities and experiences they’ve been provided.”

Golf Australia coach Tony Meyer and Ladies European Tour pro Stacey Peters are deep in planning to have a strong contingent of young women in the United Kingdom from next week when they’ll play a match against the Welsh women’s national team before the Ladies’ British Amateur.