Something has finally clicked for Michael Sim.
The former PGA Tour player has honed his skills in practice and successfully translated them to the cutthroat pressure of a tournament setting, stringing together highly compelling performances in consecutive tournaments.
Fresh from winning the Nexus Risk WA Open on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series and a third-place at the TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA, Sim enters this week’s Victorian PGA Championship with the confidence that makes him a red hot contender.
In the tournament’s second staging at RACV Cape Schanck Resort on the Mornington Peninsula, the 34-year-old will aim to take advantage of the momentum in his favour.
“I haven’t played too much this year. Last week (WA Open) would have been my fifth tournament so it’s great to see the work I’ve been doing at home, work on the course,” Sim said.
“I’ve been working pretty hard and shooting some good numbers so it was nice to head to Kalgoorlie and have the game feel similar to when I was playing at home.
“I had set goals in the last two weeks to get into contention and I managed to do that. If I can get into contention and give myself another shot on Sunday I’d be very pleased with that.”
Building on a talent base that saw the 2017 Queensland Open champion win multiple tournaments on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2009, Sim believes his best golf is within reach following recent results, but maintains the challenges of the Cape Schanck layout will prove the biggest test.
“For me if I drive the ball well more so with accuracy rather than length. I’m not as long as some of the other guys out on Tour, but if I can get the ball on the fairway and putt well, which I’ve done well for the last two weeks, it seems to set up my scoring really,” he said.
“Definitely in Kalgoorlie I drove it really straight and that gave me a lot of opportunities and last week was similar. There were plenty of birdies out there at Cottesloe and obviously at Cape Schanck this week, it all sort of revolves around the weather really.
“If it’s pretty calm you’ll see some low scoring and if the wind gets up it’ll play pretty tough.”
Yet another top-10 result would be of benefit for Sim’s Tour of Australasia Order of Merit standings as scheduling conflicts with overseas Tour schools arise.
“I actually wasn’t supposed to play this week due to clashes with Japanese Q-School but I didn’t get my course preference so it means I’m going up on the 10th of November for the third stage,” he said.
“It’s looking like I’ll miss the Gippsland Super 6 tournament and the final stage clashes with the Australian Open so at this stage it’s likely I’ll miss two events coming up.
“That’s why I felt playing really well at Kalgoorlie has taken a bit of pressure off keeping my card. I think I was running about 50th and it has pushed me up to about 35th.”
On his quest for a second win on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, Sim will have to overcome a star-studded field, including former Olympian Marcus Fraser, PGA Tour legend Nick O’Hern, 2019 New Zealand Open champion Zach Murray and recent Asian Tour winner Andrew Dodt.
A field of 92 professionals will tee it up at the Victorian PGA Championship at RACV Cape Schanck Resort from October 24-27, 2019.
Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series Order of Merit leader Tim Hart, Matthew Buff, Jason Kraan Ruben Lal, Tom Horan and Blake Collyer all earned a place in the field following Monday’s pre-qualifying.
Collyer fired an incredible 61, ear-marking him a big smoky at Thursday’s tournament.
In addition to the winner’s share of the $125,000 prize purse, the champion will receive Official World Golf Ranking Points and full exemption onto the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2020 season.
The final two rounds of the Victorian PGA Championship will be live-streamed on PGATV from 1pm AEDT on Saturday October 26 and 12pm AEDT on Sunday December 27.