28 Mar 2024 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour Micheluzzi welcomes successor onto DP World Tour

by Tony Webeck

Kazuma Kobori and David Micheluzzi Hero Indian Open.
Past two Order of Merit winners Kazuma Kobori and David Micheluzzi played a practice round together ahead of the Hero Indian Open. Credit: Luke Walker/Getty Images

Newly-crowned Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner Kazuma Kobori has leant on some familiar faces in preparation of this week’s DP World Tour event in India.

Kobori’s exemption category on the DP World Tour – earned through his three-win season in Australia – does not kick in until November.

He is teeing it up at this week’s Hero Indian Open by virtue of a tournament invite and has been granted a second invite to play the ISPS HANDA Championship in Japan next month.

Given the 22-year-old only turned professional the week of the Queensland PGA Championship last November, it is a rapid ascension into the world of professional golf.

One person Kobori has turned to is the man he succeeded as Order of Merit champion, David Micheluzzi.

A dominant force during the 2022/2023 season, Micheluzzi went from a breakthrough win in Kalgoorlie to playing PGA TOUR events and major championships within seven months.

On Sunday, Micheluzzi held the outright lead going into the back nine of the Porsche Singapore Classic on his way to a tie for seventh.

It is his best result on the DP World Tour and made him a valuable source of information when he and Kobori played a practice round with Kobori’s Kiwi countryman Sam Jones and Australian Deyen Lawson on Tuesday.

Kobori also gleaned insights from fellow New Zealander Daniel Hillier when the pair played together at the NZ Open earlier this month and is approaching this week with a nothing-to-lose mentality.

“Obviously very blessed to be here. I’m not a member of the DP World Tour yet so any start I can get is fantastic,” Kobori told DP World Tour Media.

“Right now, I’m not a member, so any start I can get is like a free run until I start my exemption category in November.

“I’m just trying to take it all in and try and figure out how my game translates to this Tour.”

Rather than feeling overawed by teeing it up in a field boasting Rafa Cabrera Bello, Andy Sullivan and Rasmus Hojgaard, Kobori is ready to absorb any learnings on offer.

“It’s inspiring, actually. It goes to show that I have come a wee way since turning professional in November. It’s been a pretty quick journey.

“Just looking forward to learning a lot this week and a few more weeks to come.”

Micheluzzi is not the only Aussie in India this week by virtue of his Order of Merit finish for the 2022/2023 season.

Tom Power Horan, Andrew Martin, John Lyras, Deyen Lawson and Elvis Smylie are all in the field as they seek to establish a foothold on a major tour. West Australian Haydn Barron continues his rookie season after earning his card through Q School.

The Aussie influence has been bolstered this week, too, on both the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions.

Rhein Gibson advanced from a 4-for-3 playoff at Monday qualifying to play his way into the Texas Children’s Hospital Houston Open while Greg Chalmers matched the day’s best round – 4-under 68 at Bermuda Dunes – to earn a start at The Galleri Classic in California.

This week’s LPGA Tour event, the inaugural Ford Championship in Arizona, also has a strong Australian representation.

Minjee Lee will play her first event in America for the year, joined by HSBC Women’s World champion Hannah Green and seven other Aussies at Seville Golf and Country Club.

Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images

Round 1 tee times AEDT

PGA TOUR Texas Children's Houston Open Memorial Park Golf Course, Houston, Texas 11:31pm Aaron Baddeley, Josh Teater, Dylan Wu 11:31pm* Taylor Montgomery, Harry Hall, Ryan Fox (NZ) 11:42pm* Cam Davis, Chesson Hadley, Aaron Rai 5:04am Sahith Theegala, Jason Day, Padraig Harrington 6:10am* Victor Perez, Harrison Endycott, Emilio Gonzalez 6:21am Jorge Campillo, Rico Hoey, Rhein Gibson

Defending champion: Tony Finau Past Aussie winners: Bruce Devlin (1972), Bruce Crampton (1973, 1975), David Graham (1983), Stuart Appleby (1999, 2006), Robert Allenby (2000), Adam Scott (2007), Matt Jones (2014) Prize money: $US9.1 million TV times: Live 12am-10am Friday, Saturday; Live 2:45am-9am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

DP World Tour Hero Indian Open DLF G&CC, New Delhi, India 11:55am Lauri Ruuska, Anant Singh Ahlawat, Haydn Barron 12:05pm Varun Parikh, Sam Jones (NZ), Maximilian Rottluff 12:10pm* Sachin Baisoya, Deyen Lawson, Ricardo Gouveia 12:20pm* Jonathan Goth-Rasmussen, John Lyras, Karan Pratap Singh 12:50pm* John Parry, Daniel Hillier (NZ), Sam Bairstow 1:25pm Dylan Mostert, Aman Raj, Andrew Martin 1pm* Masahiro Kawamura, Frederic Lacroix, Kazuma Kobori (NZ) 5pm Elvis Smylie, Angad Cheema, Freddy Schott 5:10pm Om Prakash Chouhan, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Tom Power Horan 6:20pm Laurie Canter, Gaganjeet Bhullar, David Micheluzzi

Defending champion: Marcel Siem Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US2.25 million TV times: Live 6:30pm-11:30pm Thursday, Friday; Live 7pm-11:30pm Saturday; Live 5:30pm-10:30pm Sunday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

LPGA Tour Ford Championship presented by KCC Seville Golf and Country Club, Gilbert, Arizona 1am Stephanie Kyriacou, Jeongeun Lee6, Emily Kristine Pedersen 1:11am Hye-Jin Choi, Jiwon Jeon, Sarah Kemp 2:06am* Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee, Ruoning Yin 2:28am* Marina Alex, Gabriela Ruffels, Mao Saigo 6:01am* Peiyun Chien, Robyn Choi, Linnea Strom 6:56am Celine Boutier, Lydia Ko (NZ), Nelly Korda 6:56am* Carlota Ciganda, Hannah Green, In Kyung Kim 7:07am* Pajaree Anannarukarn, Grace Kim, Yani Tseng 7:29am* Aditi Ashok, Karis Davidson, Wei-Ling Hsu 7:40am Mary Liu, Hira Naveed, Liqi Zeng

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US2.25m TV times: Live 9am-12pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo.

Japan Golf Tour Token Homemate Cup Token Tado Country Club, Nagoya 9:20am Daiiku Kataoka, Toshinori Muto, Michael Hendry (NZ) 9:30am Mitsunori Kakazu, Daihiro Nishiyama, Anthony Quayle 9:30am* Ohira Sato, Brad Kennedy, Ryutaro Nagano 2:05pm Taisei Shimizu, Yusaku Hosono, Brendan Jones

Defending champion: Shugo Imahira Past Aussie winners: Craig Warren (1994), Andre Stolz (2003), Wayne Perske (2006), Brendan Jones (2012, 2019) Prize money: ¥130,000,000

PGA TOUR Americas Totalplay Championship Atlas Country Club, Guadalajara, Mexico 5:25am Paul Chaplet, Tyler Strafaci, Harry Hillier (NZ) 5:35am* Josh Goldenberg, Gabriel Morgan-Birke, Jason Hong 6:15am George Markham, Charlie Hillier (NZ), Travis Vick

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $225,000

PGA TOUR Champions The Galleri Classic Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, California Australasians in the field: Steven Alker (NZ), Steve Allan, Stuart Appleby, Greg Chalmers, Richard Green, Mark Hensby, Rod Pampling, Michael Wright.

Defending champion: David Toms Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US2.2 million TV times: 10am-11am Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 7am-9am Sunday; Live 5:30am-9am Monday on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo.

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