Aussies on Tour: Windred’s One Direction to European Tour

A first meeting with the boss can be fraught with trepidation but Blake Windred is bursting with excitement as he prepares to make his European Tour debut at this week’s ISPS HANDA World Invitational in Ireland.

An innovative tournament that sees men’s and women’s tournaments held currently across two courses in the same vein as the Vic Open, the World Golf Invitational is presented by Modest! Golf, the management company headed by former One Direction member and music megastar Niall Horan.

Windred signed with Modest shortly after turning professional in November 2019 and was the recipient of enough tournament invitations to begin to establish himself in Europe.

Currently 32nd in the Road to Mallorca rankings on the Challenge Tour that rewards the top-20 at season’s end with promotion to the European Tour proper, Windred gets a taste of the big time this week… along with some quality time with the team at Modest.

“Last week Niall was saying that we’ll have a couple of Guinness’s in Ireland so that’s going to be pretty awesome,” said Windred, who had three top-six finishes on the PGA Tour of Australasia earlier this year.

“This will be the first time I’ve actually met him other than Facetime and messaging with him, that kind of stuff.

“From Niall to Mark, Jack and Katy, it’s just such a great family feel and I’m going to meet up with all the crew so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Runner-up at the Challenge de Espana last month, Windred is adjusting quickly to the week-to-week demands of life on tour.

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak put paid to much of his rookie season in 2020 but the 23-year-old Newcastle native is finding consistency in his game as he battles it out against many former European Tour winners now playing the Challenge Tour.

“The level of golf on the Challenge Tour is awesome,” said Windred, who has two top-20 finishes to go with his second placing in Spain.

“There are so many guys out here who are basically main tour guys that just come and play every now and again.

“The last three winners have been basically European Tour players that are in between tours.

“These guys are able to go back every couple of weeks and see their coach, see their family and obviously right now that’s not possible for us Aussies.

“It’s just a bit different but it will be 100 per cent worth it when I am playing on the main tour.

“However long that takes me to get there, it’s going to be worth it.”

The other Aussie men teeing it up in Ireland are rookie Elvis Smylie, Scott Hend, Jake McLeod, Bryden Macpherson, Maverick Antcliff, Deyen Lawson, Dimi Papadatos and Austin Bautista with LPGA Tour regulars Su Oh, Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith joining Ladies European Tour pair Stephanie Kyriacou and Whitney Hillier in the women’s event.

With the start of the Olympic men’s competition on Thursday the PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour and Champions Tour are all enjoying a week off this week, Peter Fowler and Kiwi Michael Campbell taking part in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at Formby Golf Club in England as Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson and former world No.1 in the senior women’s rankings Sue Wooster fly the Aussie flag at the US Senior Women’s Open in Connecticut.

Round 1 tee times AEST

European Tour

ISPS HANDA World Invitational

Galgorm Castle & Massereene, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland

Galgorm Castle GC

4.41pm*              Jake McLeod, Robert Moran, Matthew Baldwin

5.25pm                Bryden Macpherson, Jordan Wrisdale, Wil Besseling

​6.31pm                Josh Geary, Ben Evans, Berry Henson

11.09pm              Maverick Antcliff, Steven Brown, Francesco Laporta

11.09pm*            Dimitrios Papadatos, Dermot McElroy, Grégory Havret

​11.31pm              Blake Windred, John Murphy, Richard Mansell

Massereene GC

5.25pm                Elvis Smylie, Julian Suri, Laurie Canter

​6.09pm                Deyen Lawson, Darius Van Driel, Dale Whitnell

6.09pm*              Scott Hend, Eddie Pepperell, Jack Senior

10.25pm              Daniel Hillier, Lee Slattery, Richard McEvoy

11.31pm*            Austin Bautista, Eduardo De La Riva Janne Kaske

Defending champion: Jack Senior

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Maverick Antcliff

TV schedule: Live 11pm-4am Thursday, Friday; Live 11.30pm-4am Saturday; Live 9pm-1.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.

Olympic Games

Men’s Individual Strokeplay

Kasumigaseki Country Club, Saitama, Japan

9.41am                Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Corey Conners

9.52am                Ryan Fox, CT Pan, Anirban Lahiri

11.14am              Cameron Smith, Viktor Hovland, Garrick Higgo

Defending champion: Justin Rose (England)

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Cameron Smith

TV schedule: 8.20am-5pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 8.20am-5.30pm Sunday on Channel 7 and the 7 Plus app


ISPS HANDA World Invitational

Galgorm Castle & Massereene, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland

4.30pm*              Su Oh, Jenny Haglund, Becky Morgan

5.36pm*              Stephanie Kyriacou, Atthaya Thitikul, Linda Wessberg

10.14pm              Sarah Kemp, Mina Harigae, Alice Hewson

10.36pm*            Whitney Hillier, Gemma Dryburgh, Manon Gidali (a)

10.58pm*            Sarah Jane Smith, Min Seo Kwak, Marta Martin

Defending champion: Stephanie Meadow

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Sarah Kemp

TV schedule: Live 11pm-4am Thursday, Friday; Live 11.30pm-4am Saturday; Live 9pm-1.30am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.

Legends Tour

Staysure PGA Seniors Championship

Formby Golf Club and Formby Ladies Golf Club, England

8.54pm Michael Campbell

9.27pm Peter Fowler

Defending champion: Phillip Price

Past Aussie winners: Kel Nagle (1971, 1973, 1975), Peter Thomson (1988), Terry Gale (1996), Walter Hall (1997), Ross Metherell (1999), Ian Stanley (2001), Peter Fowler (2015)

Top Aussie prediction: Peter Fowler

TV schedule:

US Senior Women’s Open

Brooklawn Country Club, Fairfield, Connecticut

9pm       Jan Stephenson, Jerilyn Britz, Martha Leach (a)

2.22am Sue Wooster (a), Elaine Crosby, Kathryn Imrie

Defending champion: Helen Alfredsson

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Sue Wooster

TV schedule: Live 4am-7am Sunday; Live 5am-7am Monday on Fox Sports 503

Headlines at a glance