Aussies Abroad: PGA Pro chasing Las Vegas jackpot

He received $100 for topping the Section Qualifier three weeks ago and now Australian PGA Professional Craig Hocknull will compete for a share of the $US7 million on offer at the PGA TOUR’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Drawn in the last group of the opening round alongside Michael Gligic and Matt Wilson, it’s a rare chance for the 45-year-old to continue to test his game amongst the very best in world golf.

A two-time participant in the US PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019, Hocknull’s only previous appearance at a regular PGA TOUR event was the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open, rounds of 75-72 not enough to qualify for the weekend.

“The confidence that I gained from Phoenix was huge because I got to hit balls next to Phil Mickelson, play practice rounds with Webb Simpson,” Hocknull said prior to the 2018 PGA Championship.

“There wasn’t anything that I saw in their games that was so far above and beyond my own that it would have intimidated me.”

The Director of Instruction at Glenwild Golf Club and Spa in Park City, Utah, Hocknull is a former trick-shot exponent who spent time in Darwin and Adelaide before completing his schooling at the Kooralbyn International School west of the Gold Coast.

An invitation to play golf at Jackson University in Mississippi took Hocknull to the United States where in 2015-2016 he was named by Golf Digest as the Best in State Teacher for Arizona.

Other Aussies who Hocknull will run shoulders this week are Jason Day, Cameron Smith, Matt Jones, Cameron Davis and Greg Chalmers as well as Kiwi Danny Lee.

After a strong showing at last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open the Aussies in Europe move down to London for one of the European Tour’s most storied titles, the BMW PGA Championship.

It’s been 30 years since Mike Harwood joined Rodger Davis as the only Aussies to win at Wentworth but the likes of Lucas Herbert, Wade Ormsby and Min Woo Lee will enter the week full of confidence on the back of strong recent performances.

Hannah Green will endeavour to defend her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club and veteran John Senden joins the Korn Ferry Tour contingent at the Orange County National Championship in Florida.

Round 1 tee times (AEDT)

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
11.49pm              Su Oh, Alison Curdt, Sei Young Kim
2.50am*              Sarah Kemp, Kendall Dye, Sarah Schmelzel
4.01am Lydia Ko, Charley Hull, Nelly Korda
4.07am*              Hannah Green, Brooke M. Henderson, Danielle Kang
4.18am*              Katherine Kirk, Cydney Clanton, Bianca Pagdanganan
4.23am Minjee Lee, Sarah Jane Smith, Eun-Hee Ji

* Starting from 10th tee

Defending champion: Hannah GreenPast Aussie winners: Jan Stephenson (1982), Karrie Webb (2001), Hannah Green (2019)
Top Aussie prediction: Katherine Kirk
TV schedule: Live 4am-8am Friday and Saturday; Live 2.30am-6am Sunday; Live 2.30am-5am Monday on Fox Sports 503

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
1.25am Cameron Smith, Lanto Griffin, DA Points
1.55am*              Greg Chalmers, Troy Merritt, Brendan Steele
2.35am Cameron Davis, Vaughn Taylor, Scott Stallings
6.15am Jason Day, Sergio Garcia, Hideki Matsuyama
6.55am Danny Lee, Doc Redman, Harry Higgs
7.15am*              Matt Jones, Maverick McNealy, Kristoffer Ventura
7.25am*              Craig Hocknull, Michael Gligic, Matt Wilson

* Starting from 10th tee                

Defending champion: Kevin Na
Past Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1986), Stuart Appleby (2003), Andre Stolz (2004), Rod Pampling (2017)
Top Aussie prediction: Jason Day
TV schedule: Live 8am-11am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday on Fox Sports 503

European Tour
BMW PGA Championship
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey, England
6.15pm Min Woo Lee, Haotong Li, Kristoffer Broberg
6.45pm*              Scott Hend, Joachim B. Hansen, David Horsey
7.05pm Lucas Herbert, Joël Stalter, Jorge Campillo
10.05pm*            Jason Scrivener, Sami Valimaki, Andrea Pavan
10.25pm*            Wade Ormsby, Ryan Fox, Lucas Bjerregaard

* Starting from ninth tee

Defending champion: Danny Willett
Past Aussie winners: Rodger Davis (1986), Mike Harwood (1990)
Top Aussie prediction: Lucas Herbert
TV schedule: Live 9.30pm-3.30am Thursday and Friday; Live 9pm-2.30am Saturday; Live 10.30pm-2.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503

Korn Ferry Tour
Orange County National Championship
Panther Lake Course, Winter Garden, Florida
10.30pm              Brett Coletta, Scott Langley, John Chin
10.30pm*            Curtis Luck, Rick Lamb, Grant Hirschman
11.10pm              Brett Drewitt, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Taylor Pendrith
12.10am*            Harrison Endycott, Zach Wright, Mickey DeMorat
4am*     John Senden, Trey Mullinax, Alex Cejka
4.20am*              Jamie Arnold, Brian Campbell, Taylor Moore
4.50am Nick Voke, Conrad Shindler, Chip McDaniel
5am*     Ryan Ruffels, Callum Tarren, Braden Thornberry

* Starting from 10th tee                

Defending champion: Inaugural event
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Brett Coletta

Champions Tour
SAS Championship
Prestonwood Country Club, Cary, North Carolina
Aussies in the field: Stephen Leaney, David McKenzie, Rod Pampling

Defending champion: Jerry Kelly
Past Aussie winners: Nil
Top Aussie prediction: Rod Pampling
TV schedule: 11am-12.30pm Saturday; Live 6am-8am Sunday; Live 5.30am-8am on Fox Sports 503

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