30 Jun 2020 | Amateur golf | Professional golf |
State Challenge fills tournament void
by Mark Hayes
World-leading pros and Australia’s next generation of stars will soon unite in a unique series of tournaments as they prepare to break free from the global pandemic.
The State Challenge – a joint initiative by Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia and the ALPG – will give professionals and amateurs a chance to shake off any tournament rust before taking on the world in post-Covid-19 events.
Champion professionals Hannah Green, Su Oh and Matt Griffin are among the athletes who have flagged their intention to play the State Challenge.
And they’ll get to play on some of Australia’s greatest championship courses with Royal Melbourne (East and West), Victoria, Pelican Waters, Brisbane, Coolangatta Tweed Heads, Glenelg, Grange, Mount Compass, Lake Karrinyup, West Australian and Royal Perth golf clubs already having committed to playing their part as co-hosts.
Participating states (Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia) will each host three 36-hole stroke play events for fields comprising nine professionals and nine amateurs (12 men and 6 women). The New South Wales events will only feature professionals.
Prize pools will be determined from income received from player entries and amateurs will receive prizes in line with R&A amateur status requirements.
Events are planned for July 13, 20 and 27, with an eventual 108-hole champion determined in each state.
The PGA’s tour development manager Kim Felton said it was the perfect opportunity for all athletes involved to find their competitive groove after months away from tournament golf.
“The pandemic has obviously limited playing opportunities, so this is a perfect way to compete in that high-pressure tournament situation through their own investment, play with each state’s best amateurs and help get them ready for when they do get back out around the world to restart,” Felton said.
Golf Australia’s high performance general manager Brad James said the interest the plan had generated showed the increasing bond between the current heroes and those who aspire to their heights.
“When we can get together like this, it really helps bolster that vital connection and engagement between our current and future stars,” James said.
“It’s really exciting to see everyone we’ve mentioned it to commit so readily. You can really feel a unified wave of momentum building to showcase golf and its champions, right around Australia.”
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