The domestic golf season reaches its climax this week on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula with The National Tournament presented by BMW.
Months of toil and travel for the players will come to fruition when the Moonah course at The National at Cape Schanck hosts the season-ending tournament on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
A season spanning 16 tournaments that began in mid-October, 2022, will close at The National from Thursday where the Order of Merit will be decided.
It is a pivotal point for many of the 110 players in the field for the $200,000 tournament, because at stake are some big opportunities.
The winner of the Order Of Merit has been decided with Victorian star David Micheluzzi producing a season for the ages with three wins, and earning himself the place in the field at Royal Liverpool for the fabled Open Championship in July that the OOM champion receives.
The top three finishers in the Order of Merit will receive playing rights for the DP World Tour in the 2023-24 season, giving them starts on what used to be known as the European Tour. These are the main carrots with many other opportunities that basically see any player in the top 20 or so gain some type of benefit, such as a spot at final stage of the Korn Ferry or DPWT qualifying schools.
Currently Micheluzzi, who has won two tournaments in a breakout summer, leads from Canberra’s Brendan Jones and Victorian Andrew Martin.
The Australasian Tour Order of Merit is being calculated this season for the first time on a points system rather than dollars. There are 190 points for the winner at The National.
“In many ways the Order of Merit and the exemptions that it provides for players are what we’re about with the tour,” said Dastey.
“We’re trying to operate a tour that is competitive for participants and attractive to fans, but also a tour that provides great opportunities for the players that perform well across the season.
“The tournament at The National is the culmination of that for this season and I’ve got absolutely no doubt there will be a bunch of players going to The National thinking that it’s a very big few days for them and their future career opportunities.”
Dastey said the Tour was excited to be working with The National to create this unique tournament on one of the world’s most stunning pieces of golfing land.
“The National and the Moonah course is a brilliant championship venue, we are very optimistic for the vision of this event and it’s capabilities to grow into the future as one of our major events” said Dastey.
Players to watch in the season-ender include Micheluzzi, who has won the WA PGA Championship, the NSW Open and the TPS Sydney events on the Tour this season, Tom Power Horan, winner of the Gippsland Super 6 and ranked inside the top-three on the OOM and Martin, whose remarkable feats of putting under pressure gave him victory in the Victorian PGA championship at Moonah Links late last year.
Aside from the top three in the Order of Merit getting DP World Tour cards, the next three in order receive an exemption into the final stage of DP World Tour qualifying school, and the next seven players get into the second stage of Q-school. The top five overall receive an entry to the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-school in the United States, and the players ranked 6th to 15th are into the second stage of Q-school for that tour, which serves as the gateway to the lucrative PGA Tour in America.
“This might be the end of a long season for the players,” said Dastey. “But it’s absolutely huge for many of them and we have no doubt that it’s going to bring the best out of them. To put that kind of contest on to a world class golf course like the Moonah at The National, it showcases our sport at a very high level.”
The final two rounds will be broadcast on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and Sky Sport NZ starting from 12pm on Saturday and 12.30pm Sunday AEDT.
How to follow:
For live scoring and the latest news visit www.pga.org.au. Exclusive content and tournament updates will also be posted regularly on the PGA of Australia’s social media channels.
Facebook: @PGAofAustralia, @PGATourAus
Official hashtag: #TheNationalTournament
How to watch:
Catch the action of the third and final rounds on Saturday and Sunday, broadcast live, on Foxtel (Channel 505), Kayo Sports and Sky Sport NZ.
TV Times (AEDT)
Saturday April 1
LIVE 2.30pm – 5.30pm on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports, and Spark Sport (NZ)
Sunday April 2
LIVE 12 noon – 5pm
The National Tournament presented by BMW is the season-ending event on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, with the Order of Merit to be decided on Sunday.
This is the second year of the event, which was played on The National’s Gunnamatta course in 2022.
The Order of Merit is a points-based, season-long ranking which carries numerous exemptions into big tournaments in 2023-24 for the top players.
The National is world-renowned as a golf facility, and the Moonah course, designed by Greg Norman, is ranked among the top courses in Australia.
Players to watch
David Micheluzzi: Three-time winner this season and Order of Merit winner for 2023.
Zach Murray: Former NZ Open champion who returns from European duties.
Scott Hend: Asian Tour and DP World Tour veteran returning for his second start of the season at home.
Andrew Martin: Vic PGA winner and OOM contender in 2022-23.
Louis Dobbelaar: NZ PGA winner and one of the brightest young talents in Australia.
How to attend:
Entry is free for all spectators.