30 Nov 2023 | Australian Open | Men's Australian Open | Professional golf |
WA fun and games helps Hopewell
by Jimmy Emanuel
Western Australia has become quite the breeding ground for Australian golfing talent.
Of course, the Lees - Minjee and Min Woo - hail from the West, so too Hannah Green and her fiancé Jarryd Felton, as well as the likes of Curtis Luck, Haydn Barron and Connor McKinney, with one the early low rounds at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open belonging to another Sandgroper.
Hayden Hopewell is no stranger to professional tournament golf, the 22-year-old winning the WA Open in 2020 before fishing runner-up the following year and losing the Webex Players Series Murray River in a play-off all whilst still an amateur.
A professional since last year’s Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Hopewell opened his account this week at the lower scoring The Lakes Golf Club before heavy rain halted play with seven-under 65 to sit two back of early leader Cam Davis.
“A solid day out there. I was pretty happy, just enjoying myself out there and managed to string a few birdies together,” he said.
“It’s a plotting course and I just plotted my way around and then made sure I was where I needed to be on the greens and I managed to roll a few in, which was quite nice.”
Happily in the clubhouse before the deluge that caused the brief pause while play continued at co-host The Australian Golf Club, Hopewell has looked to be enjoying himself a great deal this week, firstly with his birthday last Sunday when he finished T33 at Royal Queensland.
The other enjoyable element the crew of West Australian talent engaging in games on the putting green that emote the occasional fist pump, and potentially some money changing hands, as well as practice rounds.
Hopewell getting a look at one of the host venues alongside last week’s winner Lee and fellow new pro Joshua Greer.
“It’s good, the WA boys sticking together,” he said. “He’s (Min Woo) been a close mate of mine since junior golf. I’m a couple of years younger than him, but we’re best mates, so we just have a laugh out there and see how good we can go.
“There were a few side bets going on.”
Admitting that losing a lunch bet to Lee is probably a more significant financial loss than the other way round, Hopewell is well placed to improve his Australian Open record that includes a T10 last year.
His first experience at the tournament coming in 2019 at The Australian, where he will play his next three rounds, with a good week helping his Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit place and potentially allowing for more practice rounds and putting games with Lee, Barron and co.
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