How Micheluzzi can seal Order of Merit at NSW Open - PGA of Australia

How Micheluzzi can seal Order of Merit at NSW Open

Only four players stand in the way of Victorian David Micheluzzi claiming the 2022/2023 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit ahead of the season’s penultimate event starting Thursday.

As a Band 2 tournament, the $400,000 Play Today NSW Open will distribute a total of 2,000 Order of Merit points with the three DP World Tour cards for the top three finishers on the Order of Merit still very much up for grabs.

Micheluzzi arrives at Rich River Golf Club with a 228-point buffer from New Zealand Open champion Brendan Jones, who in turn has a gap of 142.36 points to the fourth-placed Andrew Martin.

Successive victories in the coming two events would yield the winner a total of 570 points, meaning that there are only four eligible players capable of denying Micheluzzi the No.1 spot and all its subsequent rewards.

As they won’t play the minimum four events necessary to be eligible for the Order of Merit, Cameron Smith (third), Min Woo Lee (seventh), Adam Scott (eighth) and Jason Scrivener (10th) are no longer vying for the various exemptions on offer.

The most prized of these are the three cards on the DP World Tour for the 2024 season, one of which is safely within Micheluzzi’s grasp.

“To win twice in a season is extremely impressive and David has shown all season that he is very deserving of one of the cards on the DP World Tour,” said PGA of Australia Tournaments Director Australasia, Nick Dastey.

“He started the season with a win at the WA PGA Championship at Kalgoorlie and then produced one of the great final rounds to win again at TPS Sydney last month.

“Not only that, but he has finished runner-up twice and recorded four additional top-10s so there’s no question David has earned his ticket to the DP World Tour.”

But while his pathway to Europe is now clear, Micheluzzi is not yet guaranteed the Order of Merit crown.

With additional exemptions associated – including a spot at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in July – there are four additional players still in the mix.

Almost all are predicated on Micheluzzi adding very few points to his tally in the coming two tournaments yet there are ways for Brendan Jones, Andrew Martin, Tom Power Horan and Michael Hendry to play their way into No.1.

If Jones wins this week – and Micheluzzi finishes worse than a tie for second – the 48-year-old will move to the top. He would then need to play his fourth event for the season at The National and finish equal or better than Micheluzzi to finish on top.

The Vic PGA champion at Moonah Links late last year, a win this week would see Martin move past Micheluzzi but only if Micheluzzi finishes 39th or worse at Rich River.

Power Horan and Hendry both need to win this week and have a high finish at The National to be any chance of reigning in Micheluzzi.

Depending on whether Jones plays the final event of the season, the race for the final DP World Tour cards could fall down as far as Deyen Lawson (ninth), Brett Coletta (11th), John Lyras (12th) and Justin Warren (13th).

“Our aim in moving to a points-based system for the first time this year was to reduce the disparity between the various tournaments on our schedule,” Dastey added.

“Given the number of different scenarios that can play out over the next two events – and the number of players still in contention for those exemptions – we feel confident that we have achieved that aim.

“The quality of our winners and the depth of the field at each of the events is a testimony to the support that the players have shown for the format and the opportunities that it affords them.

“We’re heading for a thrilling final two weeks starting Thursday at Rich River and culminating at The National.”

The primary Order of Merit is not the only source of interest.

With majority of the focus being on the prize at the top of the OOM, there is also a lot of pressure on players to keep their cards for next season by finishing inside the top 50, providing strong playing opportunities for next year.

Currently David Bransdon sits on the number (50th) with 111.40 pts with many below looking to leap-frog into the top 50.

Amateurs competing through the Future Tour Affiliation can also secure playing rights for next season through gaining points equivalent to the professionals from the position they have finished in each tournament.

Those currently lower than 50th will be trying to advance their positions inside the top 50 to earn one of three opportunities to secure a category for the 2023/24 season.

Rising star Jeffrey Guan is currently equivalent to 49th on the Order of Merit and will earn status should he remain inside the top 50 while South Australian Jack Buchanan can enhance his chances with a strong showing this week.

ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit (through NZ PGA)
1. David Micheluzzi         1,031.67 (13)
2. Brendan Jones              803.67 (2)
3. Cameron Smith            772.76 (2)
4. Andrew Martin            661.31 (13)
5. Tom Power Horan       609.23 (12)
6. Michael Hendry            571.68 (7)
7. Min Woo Lee 470.00 (2)
8. Adam Scott     456.05 (2)
9. Deyen Lawson              446.46 (13)
10. Jason Scrivener          431.30 (3)

Must play minimum four events to be eligible for Order of Merit

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