24 Apr 2024 | Amateur golf |

Port Phillip Amateur: Croker steps up

by Martin Blake

Quinn Croker image
Quinn Croker will be one of the favourites this week in Melbourne.

Quinn Croker played so much golf over the latter part of summer that he barely practised at all.

The Queenslander got himself into the cycle of tournament-recovery-play-again as he completed the best stretch of his career – winning the adidas Australian Amateur at Yarra Yarra, finishing top-10 in a bunch of Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia events and securing his immediate future.

Now after some time at home in Brisbane he has found his way back on to the driving range and about to tee it up in a tournament again.

This time, it’s the Port Phillip Open Amateur at Commonwealth Golf Club on the Melbourne Sandbelt starting on Thursday, which is the forerunner of the Victorian Amateur to be played next week at Victoria Golf Club.

Croker, 21, will be one of the favourites on the back of his stellar summer.

But he is flying blind when it comes to Commonwealth, which is hosting its first tournament since reopening the course after a significant renovation. “Never played there,” Croker told Golf Australia today, admitting in the same breath that a reciprocal arrangement with his hometown Royal Queensland would get him on for at least nine holes of practice at the brilliant Melbourne layout.

Croker will be at the Australian Golf Centre in Melbourne later next week for a training camp and in a couple of months, he heads to the United States for a series of big amateur events – the Western Amateur, the Southern Amateur, PAC Coast Amateur, North and South Amateur and final qualifying for the US Amateur.

“It’s getting back into the fun stuff, playing around, I guess,” he said. “It’s like a refresher. Once you’ve had a big couple of weeks or months ... playing the Aussie tour is tough enough as it is, and I didn’t even play every event. I shouldn’t be as tired as the guys playing for their cards. “I got home and had some relaxing time, really.”

After the Asia-Pacific Amateur in Japan later this year, which carries a spot in the Masters for the winner, Croker intends turning professional and picking up the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia card he secured last season with his string of strong performances as an amateur.

A total 204 players have registered for the Port Phillip.

Among those expected to push Croker at Commonwealth this week would be the likes of Phoenix Campbell, who was runner-up to him at the national championship.

The women’s field includes Yarra Yarra’s Amelia Harris, who was second at the adidas Australian Amateur late last year, along with national team members such as Jazy Roberts and Caitlin Peirce and Raegan Denton, runner-up in the Australian Junior Amateur and the 2023 Australian Girls champion Ann Jang.

After four rounds of strokeplay the top 16 men and women from the Port Phillip go through to the Victorian Amateur, which has a matchplay format, next week.

“It’s an event you want to play well in,” said Croker. “But at the end of the day you’re also looking far ahead. What do I need for the US? That’s kind of where we’re looking at the moment.”

Port Phillip Open Amateur tee times

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