10 Mar 2024 | Tournaments | Amateur golf | Golf Australia |

Australians leave smiling as Mexico takes BMW Golf Cup

by Jimmy Emanuel

Team Australia with Gary Player at the BMW Golf Cup World Final.
Team Australia with Gary Player at the BMW Golf Cup World Final.

A three strong team of Australians have left South Africa with new friendships and smiles unable to be wiped from their faces despite not challenging for titles in the final stages of the BMW Golf Cup World Final.

Played at the stunning Fancourt Resort in George, the tournament brought players together from 33 nations who had qualified via National Finals to contest a stableford event setup like a professional tournament by the BMW Golfsport team on the Gary Player designed Montagu course.

Experiencing been called to a tee surrounded by signage boards for the first time, the Australian trio of Gina Duckers, Ross Porfida and Lincoln Stanley all spoke of previously unrivalled levels of nerves following the first day.

“No, absolutely not. You always just think don’t put the ball left, or in the water. Luckily, I managed to do so, but I have never been that nervous and thankful for balls to go straight in my life,” Stanley, who plays his golf at Sandy Golf Links, said.

The common ground of representing their country for the first time also not lost on the group.

“Absolutely not,” Concord Golf Club’s Porfida said when asked if he thought he would ever represent Australia.

“Representing Australia, no matter how big or small it may be, comes with a certain sense of pride, so tried to live up to it as best as we possible could.”

Similarly living up to the event’s focus on bringing BMW customers who are passionate about golf together to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience, the Australian team spent every moment together off the course, where Duckers was the best performer finishing in a share of 17th.

Compiling 80 points that contributed to Australia’s tie for 19th, Duckers, who plays out of North Turramurra Golf Course, spoke of pride having previously gone close to qualifying for the World Final that has been played since 1982.

“I actually qualified for the National Final 10 years ago, and then I like to set myself personal challenges and love my golf, I have been in love with golf for the last 20 years,” Duckers said.

“Had a little break when having two children, then after that I have set myself a goal, I am going to start practicing and I am going to try to qualify again.”

Finishing in a tie for 23rd in the lower handicap men’s division, Stanley finished with his best round of the week to total 79 points, with Porfida five points further back in 29th.

“I was extremely happy with how I finished off the tournament and my handicap was lower than I expected, playing off the championship tees, I am thrilled with how I went,” Stanley said.

“Also incredibly honoured to have played with Gina and Ross. It’s just been an incredible experience.”

Part of that experience was time with famed caddie Fanny Sunesson, a Gary Player clinic and prize presentation with the nine-time major champion, who handed out the overall team award to Mexico.

The Australian team reflecting on the joy of spending time in the company of such passionate golfers from around the world.

“I think the biggest thing that has probably come out of this week is the friends, and it’s not just the Australian team, because we’ve become quite close, but with the rest of the countries that are BMW clients from all over the world. It’s kind of like BMW version of the United Nations,” Porfida said.

The event, that has previously been played at New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney, something the Australian contingent were more than happy to promote to friends who might get the chance to do as they did and represent their country.

“I love when I look around to see all the countries represented, we all talk to each other, I’ve been really lucky to have great groups, we have all been lifting each other up, and I just think it is so amazing to meet the other players from all the countries,” Duckers said.

“Then we all bond over the same love of the cars and golf of course, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

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