Tim Stewart goes professional

BY Anthony Powter | 07 Nov 2008

Tim Stewart announced today that he has turned professional. The 23-year-old is only one of three Australians ever to play in the final of the 123 year history of the British Amateur Championship.

The Sydney-sider progresses from an outstanding amateur career where he collected four major amateur titles, including the 2006 Australian Amateur Championship and 2007 Singapore Open Amateur, as well as a number of runner-up finishes in the US with the 2006 Rice Planters and Eastern Amateur.

“Turning pro was not a decision that I took lightly and getting the time right was definitely a factor that came into making this decision,” said Stewart from his American base this morning following his announcement.

In each amateur tour in the US and the UK over the last three years, Stewart often played into contention, reflective of his prodigious talent as a player and his standing on the world amateur stage. The timing appears to be right for Stewart as he embarks upon the next phase of his career.

“During the past few years, I’ve had the chance to play in many amateur events all over the world and achieved almost every goal in the amateur ranks that I have aimed for,” said Stewart.

“I am finally at a point in my career where I feel that it’s time to take the next step and join the professional ranks. I am very excited about the road ahead and looking forward to a long term career in the great game of golf.”

Stewart has signed with the Octagon management group and will be playing Nike equipment following extensive negotiations with the manufacture in the US.

“We are thrilled to bring Tim on board as a client,” said Jeremy Aisenberg from Octagon in the US.

“Tim has the track record and talent to become one of the top 10 players in the world. As a global company, Octagon focuses on athletes and personalities that have the ability to transcend their sport. We truly believe that Tim can be one of those special athletes.”

Stewart’s immediate playing schedule has him returning to Australasia to compete in next week’s NSW Open at The Vintage, as well as a start at the Australian Open at Royal Sydney in December.

“I’ll really like to focus upon playing in Asia next year,” said Stewart who first started playing golf a nine in Asia when his family lived in Singapore. Stewart had been introduced to the game by his father Bruce, himself a single figure player.

“I know Asia well having grown up there for a while as a kid. The Asia Tour offers many opportunities and it’s a tour which is progressing well.”

The Stewart family moved to Australia when he was fourteen and Stewart honed his skills around Bayview Golf Club and Monash Golf Club on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Asian Qualifying Tour School commences in late January, where Stewart hopes to gain his rookie playing privileges. He’ll also consider some US events, particularly on the Nationwide Tour, hopefully through gaining starts from Monday qualifying.

“I certainly try and qualify for the bigger events in the US. There are plenty of options at present and I’ll be playing where I can just get starts in the early stages.”

At present there is no starts in the Australian Masters or the Australian PGA Championships, yet Stewart would dearly like to be playing as many Australasian events as possible before the Asian Qualifying Tour School.

At lot has changed since Wednesday 29 March 2006 at Royal Hobart Golf Club when as a 21-year-old from Balgowlah Plateau on Sydney’s Northern beaches Stewart, the 14th qualifier, secured the Australian Amateur championship title 1-up over Mitchell Brown.

Brown is currently playing the Asian Tour. Stewart hopes to be shortly joining Brown, however, he remains open as to where he will ply his trade for his rookie season.

Playing outside his comfort zone has certainly never posed a problem for Stewart. In 2006 Stewart as an amateur forked out the necessary expenses to enter a Monday qualifier on the Canadian Tour.

He’d flown alone from Los Angles airport to Canada, rented a car and travelled over 200km to BraeBen Golf Course in Mississauga simply to join 66 other hopefuls in those dreaded Monday qualifiers for 4 places in the tournament field proper. He made the field proper and those experiences will prove invaluable as he ventures on the same pathway over the next season, both in Asia and the US.

Tim Stewart is that type of player, prepared to go beyond his comfort zone to achieve his goals. For the intervening period he’ll be certainly playing in the breech of things as he seeks to establish himself as a professional. The talent is clearly there, as well as the dedication, and for Stewart it’s certainly makes for exciting times ahead.

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    About the Author: Anthony Powter

    Anthony brings a vast array of experience having covered the world's biggest golf Tours. An experienced photojournalist, his aim is to bring golf to life with articles of interest coupled with stunning photography.

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