Ninety-one days since the cancellation of the second round of The Players Championship 13 Australians will join the recommencement of tournament golf in the United States starting Thursday.
World No.15 Marc Leishman leads a contingent of six Aussies confirmed to play the PGA TOUR’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Texas from Thursday evening AEST while seven Australians return where golf shut down as the Korn Ferry Tour resumes with the Korn Ferry Tour Challenge at TPC Sawgrass.
Joining Leishman at Colonial are Cameron Smith, Jason Day, Cameron Davis, Matt Jones and John Senden with Cameron Percy currently the second alternate and hoping that a spot will open up prior to Thursday’s opening round. New Zealand’s Danny Lee is also in the field.
Winner of the Farmers Insurance Open in January, Leishman is making his first appearance at Colonial since he was tied for 34th at the then-named Dean and Deluca Invitational in 2017, his best finish at the venue coming a year earlier when he was tied for 13th.
Another of the Aussies to notch a win prior to the 12-week shutdown was Cameron Smith. The Sony Open winner is currently ranked No.35 in the world but has not fared well in his two appearances at Colonial, missing the cut in both 2018 and 2017.
When he finished fourth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February many thought Jason Day had emerged from an injury-riddled period in a position to win tournaments again. After missing the cut at the Genesis Invitational where Adam Scott triumphed, Day withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational four holes into his second round with stiffness in his back, the pandemic-enforced layoff allowing him to rehab his injury and increase his workload in recent weeks ahead of the Tour’s return.
Now ranked 51st in the world, Day is returning to Colonial for the first time since he was tied for 31st way back in 2011, his best result at the venue a fourth-place finish in 2009.
Veteran Robert Allenby will feature on the Korn Ferry Tour for just the third time in almost three years along with a host of talented youngsters such as Ryan Ruffels, Brett Coletta, Harrison Endycott and Curtis Luck. Brett Drewitt, Jamie Arnold and Kiwi pair Steven Alker and Tim Wilkinson will also tee it up at Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Sitting in 26th position on the moneylist, Drewitt is currently the highest-ranked Australian on the Korn Ferry Tour Order of Merit but with the secondary tour implementing a wrap-around season as a result of the coronavirus disruption, only the top 10 finishers will be granted performance benefits at the end of the year. ‘Battlefield’ promotion to the PGA TOUR for three wins in a single season remains.
The Korn Ferry Tour has sat idle since El Bosque Mexico Championship concluded on March 1, Harrison Endycott securing his place in the field this week courtesy of his top-25 finish at El Bosque Country Club.