09 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Hocknull's simple ambition in PGA Tour return

by PGA of Australia

Hocknull's PGA Tour return.

By Tony Webeck

Like Adam Scott and Jason Day, he is a product of the Kooralbyn International School west of the Gold Coast yet Craig Hocknull has one simple goal in his return this week to the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Born in New Guinea, Hocknull spent time in Adelaide, Darwin and Queensland before his credentials coming out of Kooralbyn earned him a four-year stint at Jackson State University in Mississippi which he completed in 1997.

Yet playing opportunities on the big stage have been scarce, Hocknull instead becoming one of the most respected instructors in America and a member of the PGA of Australia, Canada and America.

Named the Utah PGA Teacher of the Year in 2020, Hocknull splits his time between his Saber Golf academy in Arizona and his role as Director of Instruction at Glenwild Golf Club and Spa in Utah and continues to play at a high level.

He earned a second shot at the Phoenix Open – he missed the cut in 2017 – by winning the Southwest PGA Section championship for a second time last September and has set himself a goal this week at TPC Scottsdale.

Since his first PGA TOUR start five years ago the 47-year-old has played two US PGA Championships and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2020 but is yet to get beyond the second round, a record he hopes to rectify starting Thursday.

“This year marks my fifth consecutive year playing in a PGA TOUR event,” Hocknull said. “Starting with that Phoenix Open, the two majors, Shriners and now back to Phoenix Open again.

“Every time I get inside those ropes on a big stage it’s an awesome experience.

“I feel like I get better, I grow as a player and I’m really going to try and do a better job and make the cut this year.”

Another Aussie who now calls Arizona home is Matt Jones but the 2021 Honda Classic champion has a less than stellar record at the PGA TOUR stop in his adopted city.

In 10 appearances at TPC Scottsdale the former Arizona State Sun Devil’s best finish is a tie for 12th in 2014, although he did have four rounds in the 60s in finishing 30th 12 months ago.

Lucas Herbert makes his debut at the tournament where good friend Jarrod Lyle owns one of the most celebrated moments at the famed par-3 16th with Cam Davis and Adam Scott also seeking to become the first Aussie champion since Aaron Baddeley in 2007.

The DP World Tour remains in the United Arab Emirates for the Ras Al Khaimah Classic with three Aussies in action, Wade Ormsby, Maverick Antcliff and Jason Scrivener all looking to advance their standings in the Race to Dubai.

Round 1 tee times AEDT

PGA TOUR Waste Management Phoenix Open TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona 1.59am Matt Jones, Adam Long, Luke Donald 2.21am Cam Davis, Carlos Ortiz, Sebastián Muñoz 2.43am*             Lucas Herbert, Daniel Berger, Charley Hoffman 3.05am*             Craig Hocknull, Stephan Jaeger, Austin Eckroat 5.40am Danny Lee, Adam Hadwin, Patrick Rodgers 6.35am Adam Scott, Luke List, Harold Varner III

Defending champion: Brooks Koepka Past Aussie winners: Bruce Crampton (1973), David Graham (1981), Aaron Baddeley (2007) Top Aussie prediction: Adam Scott TV schedule: Live 7am-11am Friday, Saturday; Live 5am-10am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.

DP World Tour The Ras Al Khaimah Classic Al Hamra GC, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE 3.20pm*             Jason Scrivener, Andy Sullivan, Tapio Pulkkanen 3.50pm Maverick Antcliff, Daan Huizing, Robin Roussel 7pm      Ryan Fox, Kalle Samooja, Marcel Schneider 8.10pm*             Wade Ormsby, Scott Hend, Fabrizio Zanotti

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Wade Ormsby TV schedule: Live 7.30pm-12.30am Thursday, Friday; Live 7.30pm-12am Saturday; Live 8pm-12.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.

Korn Ferry Tour Astara Golf Championship Country Club de Bogota, Bogota, Colombia Lagos Course 11.50pm*           Rhein Gibson, Josh Teater, Whee Kim 12am    Harrison Endycott, TJ Vogel, Ben Griffin 12.30am             Nick Voke, Garett Reband, Alex Weiss 1am      Curtis Luck, Chris Baker, Corey Shaun

Pacos Course 12.40am*           Brett Drewitt, Rob Oppenheim, Luke Guthrie 1.20am*             Ryan Ruffels, Nicolas Echavarria, Vincent Norrman

Defending champion: Mito Pereira (2020) Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Harrison Endycott

Challenge Tour Dimension Data Pro-Am Fancourt Golf Estate, George, South Africa Australasians in the field: Blake Windred, Daniel Hillier

Defending champion: Wilco Nienaber Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Blake Windred

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