Golf Australia

Young guns ready to heat up in Fiji sun

Dimi Papadatos
New Zealand Open winner Dimi Papadatos. Photo: Getty

A strong contingent of young guns is set to take on the Fiji International to be played from 14-17 August. Bringing a youthful feel to the inaugural Fiji International a number of Australia’s rising stars including Dimi Papadatos, Jake Higginbottom and Jack Wilson will be in action at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

But don’t confuse youth for inexperience; all three were champions on the PGA Tour of Australasia before celebrating their 23rd birthdays.

Higginbottom was victorious at the 2012 New Zealand Open as a 19-year-old amateur, Wilson won the 2013 WA Goldifelds PGA Championship as a PGA Trainee and in February this year Papadatos claimed the New Zealdand Open, his first title since turning Professional in 2013.

“I was happy with the way I played and handled myself at the New Zealand Open and it’s given me confidence going forward,” said Papadatos. “Believing that on a good week I can win, it makes me more excited for tournaments like Fiji. I now know that if I can get into contention I am capable of doing something big.” With golf typically thought of as a sport where players peak later in their careers, the young brigade are bucking that trend and leaving their mark on the Tour. “A lot of the guys are holding off from turning Pro too early, which I think is a good thing, it’s a big step. In the past guys have turned Pro early and it’s daunting.” added Papadatos.

“But now players are having good amateur careers first and gaining confidence which is paying off.” While the young guns may be leaving their mark on the golf course they still look to learn from high calibre players like Vijay Singh and Nick Price.

“It’s awesome that they can get players like Vijay and Nick for the Fiji International, it really pumps up the tournament.” “It’s also a good opportunity, playing with them in the tournament that is really where you learn, when they are in action and at their best,” added Papadatos who despite his own success is in awe of his competitors.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start with a guy like Vijay who has been the World Number One.” The Fiji International will be played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course from 14-17 August and will be Fiji’s first internationally broadcast golf tournament.

Being played for a US$1 million prize purse the Fiji International will be co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia. Designed by Singh, the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course is renowned for its sparkling backdrop of coral reefs and the Pacific Ocean that line 15 out of the 18 championship holes.



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