The ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia returns this week, following seven months in hibernation. Who will claim the three-round WA PGA Championship at Kalgoorlie Golf Course?
DEFENDING CHAMPION: New South Welshman Darren Beck defeated Jarryd Felton by two shots here last year, reaching 16-under-par 272. Beck won’t be returning to Kalgoorlie this week to defend his title – and the tournament will not be an official ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit event due to the current border restrictions.
COURSE: Kalgoorlie Golf Course, 600kms inland from Perth, opened in 2010 and was designed by Graham Marsh. The site of a former garbage dump has been transferred into an excellent desert course that has hosted this event every year since 2012. The 6,768-metre par-72 layout offers terrific playing surfaces, is heavily bunkered and is surrounded by red sand and soil.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
New Zealander Michael Long is the most recent winner of this event in the absence of defending champ Darren Beck.
Long won here in 2018 – besting Aussie youngster Brody Martin by one shot – and will return in solid form off the back of numerous victories at club level.
The Tour veteran, who earnt his Staysure Tour card in Europe at the beginning of the year, possesses plenty of course knowledge at Kalgoorlie and should prove hard to hold out if he’s anywhere near his best this week.
RIGHT: Long is one of the heavy favourites at Kalgoorlie this week. PHOTO: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images.
Last year’s runner-up Jarryd Felton was in great form prior to the Tour’s suspension in April, recording shares of 10th and 12th at the Queensland Open and New Zealand Open respectively.
Felton, who is partners with LPGA Tour player Hannah Green, has been focusing on his strength and fitness for the past six months and should return to Kalgoorlie ready to make amends for last year’s near miss.
Perth’s Brett Rumford is always someone to keep an eye on, especially when he’s playing in his own state.
The 43-year-old, who won this event in 2015, is deadly with wedge in hand and is every chance of reproducing another title-winning effort this week.
72-HOLE RECORD: Since this event became part of the PGA Tour of Australasia in 2009, nobody has bested David Bransdon’s score of 17-under-par 271. The Victorian defeated Matthew Griffin by two shots at Bunbury Golf Club in 2010.
RECENT WINNERS: Darren Beck (2019), Michael Long (2018), Dimi Papadatos (2017), Stephen Dartnall (2016) and Brett Rumford (2015).