16 Sep 2021 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: McLeod's positive from difficult 2021 season

by PGA of Australia

Jake McLeod remains positive despite a difficult European Tour season.

By Tony Webeck

Fifteen events, 12 missed cuts and a best finish of a tie for 47th makes for difficult reading yet Jake McLeod insists he will walk away from the 2021 European Tour season buoyant about what lies ahead.

With his sister due to get married next month McLeod will return to Australia following this week’s Dutch Open, leading out the four-strong Aussie contingent on Thursday evening AEST that also includes Maverick Antcliff, Deyen Lawson and rookie Elvis Smylie.

In his third season on the European Tour, the Queenslander concedes that his on-course performance has been well below expectations but a growing comfort with life on tour is a measure of success he intends to build on in 2022.

When he joined the European Tour in 2019 McLeod struggled with homesickness but with close friend Spencer on the bag for large chunks of the 2021 season the 27-year-old believes he has found the mindset necessary to handle the pressures that come as a touring professional.

“I know I’m good enough to play here and I know when my game’s close to good, then I’m good enough to compete but the hardest thing was just getting used to it all over here,” said McLeod, who is paired with Pep Angles and Lucas Bjerregaard for the opening two rounds at Bernardus Golf in the Netherlands.

“In my first year, I struggled with it all, and then last year was super tough because we were in that strict bubble going from the hotel to the golf course.

“I had a professional caddie and I felt quite lonely. The golf was fine but off it, I just wasn’t having a great time. And I think that impacts your performances on the golf course, especially in the long term.

“If you’re thinking about trying to come home, then that’s not a good start before you tee it up.

“But this year has been very different. I’m happy out here. I’ve got heaps of mates out here now, I’m very comfortable. I feel at home.

“I’m looking forward to coming back next year and getting my game in good shape and having a crack at it, because I know it’ll be a good time as well.”

Behind his positive frame of mind McLeod acknowledges that there have been struggles with his golf swing throughout 2021.

Between the Canary Islands Championship and the ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Ireland McLeod missed eight cuts in succession but has seen improvements in recent weeks including playing all four rounds at the Czech Masters two starts back.

“I was here the first four months and just played terribly. Just had no idea where it was going,” said McLeod, who finished third at the 2018 Australian Open.

“It was more technical stuff, really. Just had no trust, no confidence in it and really struggled.

“I’ve been hitting it well the last couple of weeks but I’ve struggled to gather any momentum.

“I’d play a good stretch of six holes or so and then I’d hit one 40 left or 40 right. I had both misses going and would make double or triple (bogey).

“It’s been good the last few weeks and I’m starting to get some confidence back. I’ve obviously missed a lot of opportunities earlier on but I’ll definitely come back next year.

“Hopefully I can finish off nicely before I come home.”

As McLeod’s season draws to a close the new PGA Tour season begins in California where Lucas Herbert and Brett Drewitt will play as full members of the tour at the Fortinet Championship at the Silverado Resort and Spa.

It is Herbert’s first time playing full-time on the PGA Tour while Drewitt returns after spending a year on the big stage in 2017 where he failed to maintain his status.

Gabriela Ruffels gets the chance to press her claims for a LPGA Tour card after qualifying to play this week’s Cambia Portland Classic, Mark Hensby makes his Champions Tour debut at the Sanford International and six Aussies will seek to join Graham Marsh, Kurt Barnes and Brendan Jones as winners of the ANA Open on the Japan Golf Tour.

Round 1 tee times AEST

PGA Tour

Fortinet Championship

Silverado Resort and Spa North, Napa, California

1.28am*             Danny Lee, Scott Brown, Nick Watney

2.01am Lucas Herbert, David Skinns, Kevin Yu

5.21am Cameron Percy, DJ Trahan, Harold Varner III

6.05am Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker, Will Zalatoris

6.16am Aaron Baddeley, Ryan Armour, Jonas Blixt

7.22am Brett Drewitt, Chad Ramey, Michael Duncan     

Defending champion: Stewart Cink

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Marc Leishman

TV schedule: Live 8am-11am Friday, Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Liv 8am-11am Monday on Fox Sports 505

European Tour

Dutch Open

Bernardus Golf, Cromvoirt, Netherlands

6.40pm Jake McLeod, Pep Angles, Lucas Bjerregaard

7.35pm Deyen Lawson, Gavin Green, Eduardo De La Riva

7.35pm*             Josh Geary, Ben Evans, Philip Bootsma

11.58pm             Ryan Fox, Joachim B. Hansen, Jazz Janewattananond

11.58pm*           Elvis Smylie, Alexander Knappe, Felix Van Dijk

12.20pm*           Maverick Antcliff, Carlos Pigem, Ralph Miller

Defending champion: Sergio Garcia (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Jack Newton (1972), Graham Marsh (1979, 1985), Stephen Leaney (2000)

Top Aussie prediction: Maverick Antcliff

TV schedule: Live 9.30pm-2.30am Thursday; Live 9.30pm-2am Friday; Live 9pm-1.30am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503

LPGA Tour

Cambia Portland Classic

The Oregon Golf Club, West Linn, Oregon

12.11am*           Sarah Jane Smith, Kendall Dye, Mo Martin

12.55am             Hannah Green, Stacy Lewis, Austin Ernst

12.55am*           Su Oh, Na Yeon Choi, Mi Jung Hur

1.17am*             Katherine Kirk, Lauren Coughlin, Andrea Lee

6.50am Gabriela Ruffels, Daniela Darquea, Jaravee Boonchant

Defending champion: Georgia Hall

Past Aussie winners: Hannah Green (2019)

Top Aussie prediction: Hannah Green

TV schedule: Live 5am-8am Friday, Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 5am-8am Monday on Fox Sports 505

Ladies European Tour

Lacoste Ladies Open de France

Golf du Medoc (Chateaux Cse), Le Pian-Médoc, France

5.44pm*             Stephanie Kyriacou, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Celine Herbin

6.06pm Whitney Hillier, Kylie Henry, Lydia Hall

Defending champion: Julia Engström

Past Aussie winners: Karen Lunn (1997), Stacey Keating (2012)

Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou

Japan Golf Tour

ANA Open Golf Tournament

Sapporo Golf Club (Wattsu Cse), Hokkaido

8.05am Andrew Evans, Yuichi Teruya, Shunya Takeyasu

8.50am*             David Bransdon, Atomu Shigenaga, Shaun Norris

9.05am Todd Sinnott, Akio Sadakata, Daijiro Izumida

9.25am Scott Strange, Yasunobu Fukunaga, Masaya Tomida

12.25pm             Dylan Perry, Taiko Nishiyama, Yoshitaka Takeya

12.30pm*           Anthony Quayle, Takumi Kanaya, Rikuya Hoshino

Defending champion: Yosuke Asaji

Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1979), Kurt Barnes (2011), Brendan Jones (2016)

Top Aussie prediction: Anthony Quayle

Korean PGA Tour

2021 DGB Financial Group Irvine Open

Farmy Hills Country Club, Korea

8.50am*             Junseok Lee

9.40am Kevin Chun

1pm      Wonjoon Lee

Defending champion: Bio Kim

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Wonjoon Lee

Challenge Tour

Hopps Open de Provence

Golf International de Pont Royal, Mallemort, France

Australasians in the field: Daniel Hillier, Blake Windred, Dimitrios Papadatos

Defending champion: Lars Van Meijel (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Blake Windred

Symetra Tour

Guardian Championship

Capitol Hill Golf Club, Prattville, Alabama

Australasians in the field: Stephanie Na, Robyn Choi, Julienne Soo, Julianne Alvarez, Soo Jin Lee

Defending champion: Laura Restrepo (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Robyn Choi

LET Access Series

Lavaux Ladies Open

Golf de Lavaux, Switzerland

4.40pm Amy Walsh, Kimberley Beveridge, Erika De Martini

6.15pm Kristalle Blum, Victoria Monod, Ariane Klotz

Defending champion: Agathe Laisne

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Amy Walsh

Champions Tour

Sanford International

Minnehaha Country Club, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Australasians in the field: Steven Alker, Robert Allenby, Mark Hensby, Stephen Leaney, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling, John Senden

Defending champion: Miguel Angel Jimenez

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Stephen Leaney

TV schedule: 11am-12.30pm Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503; 11am-12.30pm Monday on Fox Sports 505

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