Victorian PGA gets 2014 underway
BY Bruce Young | 05 Feb 2014
The 2014 PGA Tour of Australasia begins this Thursday when the Lexus of Blackburn Victorian PGA Championship is played at the Heritage Golf and Country Club’s St John Course in Melbourne.
This week’s event is followed by next week’s Coca Cola Queensland Open in Toowoomba, the Oates Victorian Open at 13th Beach and the Tier One New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
It is perhaps disappointing that the two Victorian events cannot be played back to back to avoid additional travel costs for the players in events where prize-money is not significant.
The need to co-ordinate the Victorian Open with the Women’s version of the same event is the reason for the strange scheduling.
The event has a long history in Australian and Victorian golf having been first played in 1924. More recent winners are Ashley Hall, Marc Leishman, Andre Stolz, Alistair Presnell, James Nitties, Gareth Paddison and David McKenzie.
The field is headed in terms of Australasian Tour status by New Zealander Mike Hendry who finished 3rd on the PGA Tour of Australasia’s money list last year. Hendry played the Japan Tour last year, only just retaining his status there but he seldom missed a cut and at his best could easily take his first title in Australia having won the New Zealand PGA Championship in each of the past two years.
Local Mathew Griffin, Jack Wilson, who proved the surprise packet of last year’s PGA Tour of Australasia, former Champion, Gareth Paddison, defending champion David McKenzie, Max McCardle who played so well at the Australian Open, Brody Ninyette and Adam Bland are others who could be considered good chances.