22 Mar 2022 | Professional golf |

Windred's windfall instigates Order of Merit reshuffle

by PGA of Australia

Blake Windred took home the winner's cheque at the NSW Open despite coming second to amateur star Harrison Crowe.
Blake Windred took home the winner's cheque at the NSW Open despite coming second to amateur star Harrison Crowe.

By Tony Webeck

He finished second but left with the NSW Open winner’s cheque and now Golf Australia rookie squad member Blake Windred is positioned to claim one of the DP World Tour cards on offer through the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.

As one of the richest tournaments on the 2021/2022 schedule, the Golf Challenge NSW Open at Concord Golf Club was bound to have Order of Merit implications but the victory by star amateur Harrison Crowe threw an unexpected outcome into the mix.

Winner of the opening event of the season at the Victorian PGA Championship in December, Windred fired a brilliant bogey-free seven-under 64 on Sunday at Concord to finish one behind Crowe and one clear of Jarryd Felton and Jordan Zunic.

Given Crowe’s amateur status, Windred received the $72,000 winner’s cheque to climb to third on the Order of Merit, just $2,500 shy of Andrew Dodt in second as Jed Morgan maintains a healthy margin at the top.

But just like the NSW Open, it is the race for the minor placings that promises the greatest drama over the final four events of the season.

The top three on the Order of Merit at season’s end will receive a card on the 2023 DP World Tour while those who finish top five will be exempt into the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School, the primary pathway to the PGA TOUR.

His performance at the NSW Open brings squarely into the frame a ticket to the DP World Tour that has been tantalisingly within Windred’s reach.

The 24-year-old finished 41st on the Challenge Tour moneylist last year to narrowly miss out on promotion to the main tour and spent February in Africa trying to solidify his status in Europe.

That status may now be tied to his results on home soil, starting with The National PGA Classic from April 5-8.

Windred has entered the next three events on the PGA Tour of Australasia schedule but is still evaluating whether to stay in Australia or return to the Challenge Tour and pursue that pathway to promotion.

“I’m just trying to get as much information as I can and then make a decision whether or not to go back to Africa and keep playing Challenge Tour or stay and play in Melbourne and Western Australia,” said Windred.

“I’m just trying to get everything on the table before I make a decision but I’m grateful to be in this position where I do have options available to me.”

The quickness in which professional golf can shift is nothing new to Windred.

After watching New South Wales State teammate Cam Davis miss the cut at the 2017 NSW Open only to win the Australian Open a week later, Windred knows that a week is a long time in the pro game.

“Ever since I saw that I was like, Wow, it really is like that,” added Windred.

“It’s a crazy roller-coaster but I’m very grateful to be doing it.

“I said to my caddie before I signed my card on Sunday, ‘How far were we off?’

“I still hadn’t seen a leaderboard and when he said we were only one back I was really surprised.

“I started preparing for a potential playoff so it’s funny how golf all works out.”

Less than $6,000 separates second and fourth on the Order of Merit with just $11,232 between fifth (Anthony Quayle) and eighth (Brad Kennedy).

ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit (through NSW Open) 1. Jediah Morgan           $184,943.77 2. Andrew Dodt $110,050.70 3. Blake Windred            $107,573.33 4. Dimitrios Papadatos  $104,198.50 5. Anthony Quayle         $97,217.33 6. Louis Dobbelaar         $91,218.10 7. Aaron Pike     $89,625.83 8. Brad Kennedy             $85,985 9. Jarryd Felton $75,840 10. Jordan Zunic             $71,580.77

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