27 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |
Aussies on Tour - Micheluzzi's Asian opportunity
by Martin Blake
David Micheluzzi was the outstanding player on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia over the summer and he is about to get a taste of his future as the DP World Tour heads to South Korea this week. Micheluzzi, the Order of Merit winner who will pick up membership of the DP World Tour for the 2023-24 when it begins later this year, has an invitation to compete in the Korea Championship at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon this week. The Melburnian who won three times – at the Play Today NSW Open, the WA PGA Championship and the TPS Sydney event – in a breakout season on the Australasian Tour, setting himself up with gilt-edged playing opportunities for the next year overseas. It all starts this week as the DP World Tour heads to Korea for the first time in a decade, although his membership card will not be in his hands until the new season begins. As a nice omen for 26-year-old Micheluzzi and the other Australians competing, it is worth noting that the last time the old European Tour went to Korea, in 2013, Brett Rumford was the winner at the Ballantine’s Championship. This week’s event carries a $US2 million prize pool and is co-sanctioned by the Korean Tour, a week after the DP World Tour ventured to Japan for the first time ever “The tournament is an important part of the DP World Tour’s partnership with the KPGA, providing a clear pathway for KPGA Tour players to compete at the highest levels of men’s professional golf,” said Keith Pelley, DP World Tour Chief Executive. The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon previously hosted the Presidents Cup in 2015. Meanwhile hugely talented Australian Gabriela Ruffels is presented with another opportunity to nail down her playing rights on the biggest women’s tour in the world when she competes in the Epson Tour’s Copper Rock Championship in Utah this week. Ruffels, 23, is No. 1 on the money list on the secondary tour with $US58,028, with the top 10 at season’s end graduating to the LPGA Tour for 2024. She narrowly missed out on an LPGA Tour card in 2022, finishing No. 15 on the money list, and then had a mishap by missing the deadline to enter the LPGA Tour School, sending her to some tournaments on the Ladies European Tour in the first part of 2023 as well as four tournaments on the Epson Tour. No one doubts her ability; Ruffels won the US Amateur in 2019, was runner-up again in 2020, and during that same year playing as an amateur she was tied-15th at the Chevron Championship and tied-13th in the US Women’s Open. “It feels good to be in the position I’m in at the moment after four events, but I know there’s still a long season to go,” she told lpga.com this week. “I definitely feel like I played solid in the first few events on the West Coast and hopefully can keep it going for the rest of the season.” On the LPGA Tour this week, Minjee Lee continues to search for her 2022 form at the LA Championship, while the US PGA Tour heads to Mexico. Round One tee times AEST PGA Tour Mexico Open Vidanta Vallarto, Mexico 10.45pm Greg Chalmers, DJ Trahan, Kevin Stadler 11.40pm Cameron Percy, Derek Ernst, Scott Brown 4.12am Geoff Ogilvy, Dylan Fratelli, Adam Long 5.18am Aaron Baddeley, Kyle Stanley, Scott Piercy 5.18am Harrison Endycott, Brent Grant, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez Defending champion: Jon Rahm Past Aussie winners: Jarrod Lyle (2008), Frank Nobilo (NZ) (1997), David Graham (1980) TV Times: 5.30-8.30am Friday, Saturday; 3-8am Sunday-Monday on Fox Sports 503 DP World Tour Korea Championship Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, Incheon, South Korea 7.10am David Micheluzzi, David Horsey, Daiyan Lee 9am Jun-Seok Lee, Grant Forrest, Mikko Korhonen 12noon Won Joon Lee, Justin Walters, Matthew Jordan 2pm Daniel Hillier (NZ), Geongjun Lee, Freddy Schott Defending champion: Inaugural year Past Aussie winners: Nil TV Times: Thursday-Friday 2-7pm, Saturday 2-4.35, Sunday 4.30-9.30 Fox Sports More and Fox Sports 503 LPGA Tour LA Championship Wiltshire Country Club, Los Angeles 12.37 am Stephanie Kyriacou, Bronte Law, Jennifer Song 12.59 am Grace Kim, Hye-Jin Choi, Paula Creamer 1.32am Minjee Lee, Danielle Kang, Brooke Henderson 1.54 am Sarah Kemp, Wei-Ling Hsu, Caroline Inglis 3.48 am Hannah Green, Madelene Sagstrom, Gabriella Then Defending champion: Inaugural year Past Aussie winners: nil TV Times: Friday-Saturday 8.30-11.30am, Sunday-Monday 8-11am Fox Sports 503 Japan Golf Tour The Crowns Nagoya Golf Club, Japan 10.40 Brendan Jones, Ryuko Tokimatsu, Tomoharu Otsuki 10.40 Anthony Quayle, Junichiro Kozuma, Shinaro Kobayashi Defending champion: Yuki Inamori Past Aussie winners: Brendan Jones (2011), Roger Mackay (1994), Peter Senior (1993), Greg Norman (1989), Graham Marsh (1977, 1981), David Graham (1976), Peter Thomson (1969, 1972) TV Times: nil LIV Golf LIV Singapore Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore Marc Leishman (shotgun starts, 12.15pm Friday) Cameron Smith Jed Morgan Matt Jones Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: nil Challenge Tour Abu Dhabi Challenge Abu Dhabi Golf Club, United Arab Emirates 1.35pm Jarryd Felton, Stefano Mazzoli, Borja Virto 1.45 pm Maverick Antcliff, Robin Roussel, Gregorio De Leo 5.15 pm Jordan Zunic, Sam Bairstow, Emilio Cuertero Blanco Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Korn Ferry Tour Home Grown Lenders Championship The Ledges, Huntsville Alabama 9.25 pm Steven Bowditch, Dan McCarthy, Chandler Phillips 9.58 pm Rhein Gibson, Roberto Diaz, Bo Van Pelt 9.58 pm Dimi Papadatos, Dawie van der Walt, Michael Gellerman 10.09 pm Brett Drewitt, Tom Whitney, Jim Knous Defending champion: Harrison Endycott Past Aussie winners: Harrison Endycott (2022) TV Times: nil Epson Tour Copper Rock Championship Copper Rock golf course, Hurricane, Utah 11.44 pm Gabriela Ruffels, Yue Ren, Milagros Chaves 12.55 am Robyn Choi, Minjee Kang, Kathleen Scavo 1.17 am Sarah Jane Smith, Karen Kim, Min Seo Kwak 4.20 am Su Oh, Monika Poomcharoen, Kristen Gillman 5.15 am Amelia Garvey (NZ), Natasha Andrea Oon, Michaela Finn 5.15 am Hira Naveed, Sarah White, Savannah, Vilaubi 5.48 am Cassie Porter, Jessica Peng, Alexis Phadungmartvorakal Defending champion: Dottie Ardina Past Aussie winners: nil TV Times: nil PGA Champions Insperity Invitational Woodlands Country Club, Texas Mark Hensby (tee times TBA) Stuart Appleby Richard Green Steven Alker (NZ) Rod Pampling Defending champion: Steven Alker Past Aussie winners: Nil
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