08 Nov 2022 | Professional golf |
Windred focused first on Vic PGA title defence
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Newcastle’s Blake Windred has vowed to bring the same intensity he will take to his debut season on the DP World Tour to this week’s defence of his Victorian PGA Championship crown at Moonah Links.
Windred’s one-stroke win on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula 11 months ago served as the catalyst to a second-place finish on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, a result that came with the added bonus of a ticket to the DP World Tour in 2023.
That season commences in two weeks’ time at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane but Windred remains very much focused on the here and now.
The field this week boasts first-time winners David Micheluzzi (WA PGA) and Deyen Lawson (WA Open), three-time DP World Tour winner Marcus Fraser, five-time Korn Ferry Tour winner Mathew Goggin and Australasian Tour winners such as Matthew Griffin and Zach Murray and promising American talents Devon Bling and Jake Hennessy.
It represents the start of a five-week block of tournaments highlighted by the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Open and for Windred, the perfect opportunity to employ a mindset designed to bring out his best.
“I want to play just as good here as I do at the Australian Open and the Australian PGA,” said Windred.
“To be honest, I was viewing this as a good lead-in to the big events but then I thought, This is a big event. That’s the mindset I want to adopt for every single event from now on.
“What I have learnt this year is that you need to approach all of the tournaments in the exact same way because that’s what the best players in the world would do.
“It’s a mentality of having the foot on the throat now. Taking no prisoners and really trying to build a career for myself.
“I understand that there is going to be a lot more tough situations in the future but I genuinely believe in everything I’m doing. I believe in my team and I think we’re going to be in for a nice couple of years.
“I’m very excited.”
Just weeks away from his 25th birthday, Windred admits that last year’s breakthrough professional win brought with it a mix of emotions.
There was relief that he had achieved something very few do but also a sense that it was another step in the journey towards larger goals.
Yet in the immediate aftermath of his maiden win – as former Carlton star Brendon Fevola filled the Vic PGA trophy with bottles of Corona – Windred was reminded to savour the moment.
Fevola played two games in his rookie season for Carlton in 1999, the last time the Blues qualified for the AFL Grand Final.
“He actually said to me, ‘It’s the best feeling in the world isn’t it?’,” Windred recalled.
“He played in a grand final when he was real young and thought that would happen every year, but he never got to play in an AFL Grand Final.
“He told me to soak it up and use that feeling as motivation going forward.
“I had a lot of self-belief and knew that I was good enough to win but there’s still that 1 per cent of your brain saying, Well, you actually haven’t won.
“You beat everyone in the field that week. That’s a big achievement. When I look back, I take a lot of confidence.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you ever make, you won’t be able to replicate the feeling that I had when I won.
“That experience, I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”
With a DP World Tour card guaranteed in March, Windred admits that a haphazard schedule that included starts on the DP World Tour, Challenge Tour, Asian Tour and LIV Golf made it difficult to replicate his best form overseas.
He has spent the past three weeks back home in Newcastle and working closely with coach Gary Barter at The Australian Golf Club, readying himself for the next step in his career.
“I believe so much in what Gary teaches me and I think we’re making great progress,” said Windred, who has recently started a new podcast called, Love Yours, with friend Ky Emerton.
“Technically my game is at a great level, it’s just matching that up with certain emotions and certain courses.
“It’s all well and good to be playing well on courses you’re familiar with but I want to be like that on world-class set-ups in the biggest events.
“I showed that I have what it takes in Australia but I want to have that week in and week out on the main tour in Europe.”
The Victorian PGA Championship is played across both the Legends and Open courses at Peppers Moonah Links Resort, Round 1 commencing on Thursday morning.
As is the case with all ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia events this season, the final two rounds will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo on Saturday and Sunday.
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