04 Jul 2024 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Baseball great gets Brazel battle-ready

by Tony Webeck

Sam Brazel Aussies on Tour
Sam Brazel has hit the gym in recent months to prolong his career and stay competitive at the highest level. Photo: Scott Davis

Australian veteran Sam Brazel has turned to a former baseball great to build a body that can withstand the rigours of professional golf late into his 40s.

Brazel is among the 19-strong Aussie contingent teeing it up at the Asian Tour’s International Series Morocco this week, the first time the event has been held since Jazz Janewattananond triumphed two years ago.

Including the co-sanctioned New Zealand Open, it is Brazel’s fourth start on the Asian Tour in 2024 having regained his card by finishing 16th at Final Stage of Q School in January.

That performance was a continuation of good form on home soil that yielded a top-10 finish at the ISPHS HANDA Australian Open in Sydney and gave the 45-year-old the belief that he can still compete at the highest level.

Battling the same groin injury that has sidelined Melbourne Storm star Cameron Munster, Brazel turned to 2000 Olympian Matt Buckley earlier this year to not only aid injury prevention, but add the speed that’s needed to keep up in the modern game.

“I’ve never really been one to go to the gym or look after my body that well so enlisted a guy that I’ve known for 25 years,” said Brazel of Buckley, an exercise physiologist and co-owner of Pure Fitness Alstonville in northern New South Wales.

“I’ve only been doing it the last three months or so and I’m just starting to see some benefits of it.

“We generally do a morning session and then I go and practice in the afternoon. I can definitely see a correlation between having that dynamic warmup prior to practice and how that makes a huge difference to the way I swing the club and the pace at which the club moves.

“It’s that mental side of it too, just a different health aspect to it, feeling better within myself for actually doing it.”

The 2016 Hong Kong Open remains Brazel’s lone victory on a major tour yet he has been a perennial contender both on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour.

He has top-10 finishes in both marquee Australian events the past two years and was tied for ninth at the World City Championship in Hong Kong in March last year.

It’s been enough to convince him that, when fit, his best remains good enough.

“The end of the Aussie summer last year was probably a fair indication of where I’m at with my golf,” said Brazel.

“I put a fair bit of effort into trying to have a good summer here in Australia and I really enjoyed that.

“I didn’t play so well at the Aussie PGA on the final day, but the Aussie Open was solid enough.

“Golf game’s good, mentally I’m good. I still feel like I can compete, so I’m going to keep plodding along while ever I feel like I can be competitive.”

On the back of a top-10 finish at the Italian Open 2023 Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner David Micheluzzi leads the five-strong Aussie charge at the BMW International Open in Germany and LPGA Tour player Stephanie Kyriacou joins Kirsten Rudgeley and Whitney Hillier at the Aramco Team Series event in London.

Round 1 tee times AEST

PGA TOUR John Deere Classic TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois 11:46pm* Harrison Endycott 3:49am Jason Day

Defending champion: Sepp Straka Past Aussie winners: Mark Hensby (2004), John Senden (2006) Prize money: $US8 million TV times: Live 2am-9am Friday, Saturday; Live 2am-8am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

DP World Tour BMW International Open Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany 4pm* Ryan Fox (NZ) 4:30pm Jason Scrivener 4:30pm* Daniel Hillier (NZ) 4:40pm Sam Jones (NZ) 5:10pm Haydn Barron 5:10pm* Tom Power Horan 5:20pm* David Micheluzzi 5:30pm Andrew Martin

Defending champion: Thriston Lawrence Past Aussie winners: Peter Fowler (1993) Prize money: $US2.5 million TV times: Live 8:30pm-2am Thursday, Friday; Live 11pm-2am Saturday; Live 9pm-2am Sunday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

Asian Tour International Series Morocco Royal Golf Dar Es Salam (Red Course), Morocco 4:20pm* Brendan Jones 4:30pm* Travis Smyth 4:50pm* Ben Campbell (NZ) 5:10pm Kevin Yuan 5:20pm Jed Morgan 5:30pm Maverick Antcliff 5:40pm Deyen Lawson 6pm Justin Warren 9:20pm Kazuma Kobori (NZ) 9:30pm* Aaron Wilkin 9:40pm Wade Ormsby 10pm Scott Hend 10pm* Harrison Crowe 10:10pm Jack Thompson 10:20pm Todd Sinnott 10:20pm* Andrew Dodt 10:30pm* Zach Murray 10:40pm Sam Brazel 10:40pm* Marcus Fraser 11:10pm* Lachlan Barker 11:20pm Doug Klein

Defending champion: Jazz Janewattananond (2022) Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US2 million TV times: Live 11pm-3am Thursday; Live 12:10am-3am Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 11pm-1am Saturday on Fox Sports 507; 8am-10am Monday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

Ladies European Tour Aramco Team Series – London Centurion Club, London 4:51pm Kirsten Rudgeley 9:39pm Stephanie Kyriacou, Momoka Kobori (NZ) 10:27pm Whitney Hillier

Defending champion: Nelly Korda Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US500,000 TV times: Live 12:30am-4:30am Thursday on Fox Sports 503; Live 12:30am-4.30am Friday; Live 9:30pm-1:30am Friday on Fox Sports 507 and Kayo.

Japan Golf Tour Japan Professional Golf Championship Fuji Country Kani Club (Shino Cse), Gifu 8:55am Brad Kennedy 9:05am Michael Hendry (NZ)

Defending champion: Kensei Hirata Past Aussie winners: Adam Bland (2015) Prize money: ¥150 million

LET Access Series PGA Championship Gothenburg Albatross GolfKlubb, Sweden 4:44pm Kelsey Bennett 5:17pm Munchin Keh (NZ) 5:28pm Wenyung Keh (NZ) 9:12pm Hanee Song (NZ)

Defending champion: Chiara Tamburlini Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: €40,000

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