31 Jan 2022 | Professional golf |

50,000 new reasons to perform at TPS

by PGA of Australia

Brad Kennedy Open image
Brad Kennedy will defend at Rosebud this week, with a prize pool $50,000 bigger. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

Players have 50,000 more reasons to perform well this week as TPS Victoria is the first of three Webex Players Series events to receive an immediate increase in prize money.

Rosebud Country Club on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula will showcase a stellar field of men and women starting Thursday, February 3. US Open champion and tournament host Geoff Ogilvy headlines the men’s field while LPGA Tour-bound Stephanie Kyriacou and Karis Davidson are part of a women’s field that also boasts rookie pros Grace Kim and Cassie Porter and amateur stars Kirsten Rudgeley and Sarah Wilson.

Playing for the one prize purse from scaled tees, the introduction of the Webex Players Series was a highlight of the 2020/2021 ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia season and returns this year richer and with new additions in the Murray River and Hunter Valley regions.

TPS Victoria, Sydney and Murray River have all had their total prize purse increased from $150,000 to $200,000 per event while TPS Hunter Valley was originally announced as a $200,000 tournament when it joined the schedule.

The region’s best juniors will join the professionals for the final two rounds of all four Webex Players Series events broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo.

The TPS Murray River tournament to be played at Cobram-Barooga Golf Club received a further boost late last week with the confirmation that 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA champion Hannah Green will be in the field.

Forced to withdraw from the WPGA Championship due to border restrictions, this will be Green’s first appearance in a Webex Players Series event and further emphasises the excitement for the concept amongst our leading players.

The increase in prize money for the three events not only makes each more enticing to Australia’s best players but gives them greater significance in determining the all-important finishing positions on the Order of Merit.

“The goal all along has been to build a tour with more events and greater prize money so we’re thrilled to add $50,000 in prize money to each of these three tournaments in addition to the Queensland PGA played two weeks ago which was also increased by the same amount,” said PGA of Australia Tournaments Director Australasia, Nick Dastey.

“The Webex Players Series was extremely well received last summer and adding two further events this year at Cobram-Barooga and Cypress Lakes shows the appetite out there for such a concept.”

Coming hot on the heels of the inaugural Fortinet Australian WPGA Championship, the four Webex Players Series events also provides the talented class of rookie women professionals coming through with invaluable playing experience.

“We want our best girls playing on the world’s biggest tours but they need tournament experience at home before they can take that next step,” said WPGA Tour CEO Karen Lunn. “Minjee Lee and Stephanie Kyriacou both won professional events as amateurs and took that confidence and made an instant impact overseas.

“There is such a strong group of girls now making their way as professionals and I’ve got no doubt that we will soon see a female winner of a Webex Players Series event and that they too will go on to have success internationally.”

The top three finishers on the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit will receive cards on the DP World Tour in 2022/2023 while the top five receive entry into the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying school at the end of the year.

“The extension of our strategic alliance with the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR has added so much to this year’s Order of Merit race,” added Dastey.

“We view our tour’s role as providing playing opportunities here in Australia but to also serve as the pathway for our players to join the DP World Tour or PGA TOUR.

“The past two years have unquestionably been challenging but with the growth in tournaments and emergence of these young stars we’re very excited about the growth opportunities we will see in the next few years.”

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