02 Mar 2022 | Amateur golf | Professional golf |

Bennett sizing up next step at TPS Sydney

by PGA of Australia

Kelsey Bennett in action.

By Tony Webeck

Hannah Green may have stolen her thunder by being the first woman to win a Webex Players Series event but there is still much Kelsey Bennett wants to achieve at this week’s TPS Sydney event at Bonnie Doon Golf Club.

Complementing a stellar field of professional men and women are a host of promising amateurs with their eyes on the next step in their careers while some of Australia’s leading juniors will step forward over the weekend for the latest instalment of the Junior Players Series.

The launch of the Webex Players Series 12 months ago has provided much-needed playing opportunities for the country’s leading female golfers and given the next generation an insight into what it takes to reach the top level.

Currently ranked No.93 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Bennett was top-20 at both the Vic Open and the TPS Victoria event at Rosebud and is eyeing off another strong showing at Bonnie Doon from Thursday.

“As soon as I saw that Hannah had won I turned to my nan and said, ‘Dammit, I wanted to be the first one to win a mixed event’,” said Bennett.

“I don’t feel too nervous any more. I used to see the billboards and think, Oh my god, this is such a big event. Now they’re pretty much at all of them so it’s nice to have that comfortable feeling at these events.

“Expectation this week would be to make the cut. Down at Rosebud I did quite well and had 13-under so knowing the course – hopefully the weather holds off – but I feel pretty comfortable and confident to do quite well here.”

In addition to established professionals such as Whitney Hillier, Golf Australia Rookie Squad member Grace Kim, Cassie Porter and Stephanie Bunque, the emerging amateurs continue to make their presence known.

West Australian Kirsten Rudgeley defeated Kim in the final to win The Athena last Sunday and will be eager to add to her tournament experience ahead of next month’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

“There’s a chunk of us who are at that stage at the moment which is really nice,” Bennett said of the group of young women making a name for themselves through the Webex Players Series.

“It gives you that bit of confidence. Golf can be quite lonely so knowing that there are other girls coming through, making the most of travelling with them is really beneficial.

“There are a lot more girls making cuts each week so it’s really good to see.”

A product of Mollymook Golf Club on the New South Wales South Coast, Bennett has played Pennants in recent years for St Michael’s Golf Club in Sydney and is familiar with the Bonnie Doon layout.

Bennett shot 68 in round one 12 months ago before missing the cut but likes the way course sets up for her.

“A couple of the holes have changed from par 5s to par 4s, there are a couple of tee boxes a bit further forward and a couple a little bit further back so they have changed it a little bit,” she said of the course set-up.

“I really like this course. It’s a smart course, not just an open-your-shoulders and whack it. It will be quite interesting to see the numbers this week.”

TPS Sydney Hosted by Braith Anasta and presented by Webex by Cisco tees off at Bonnie Doon Golf Club at 7.30am on Thursday morning. Entry for spectators is free and the final two rounds will be broadcast on Fox Sports and Kayo on Saturday from 12.30pm and Sunday from 12pm.

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