After a week of playing concurrently, the men and women get back to head-to-head competition at the fourth edition of the Webex Players Series Sydney hosted by Braith Anasta.
Moving to Castle Hill Country Club, the tournament marks a return to a venue that has hosted the Australian PGA Championship, NSW PGA, NSW Open and Canon Challenge. The course also marks a return home for seven either current, or former, members.
Included in that group, 2023 NT PGA winner Daniel Gale.
Getting a first taste of big-time tournament golf at Castle Hill as Nathan Holman’s 2013 NSW Open caddie, Gale has been popular among his peers looking to glean as much of his local knowledge as possible.
“I’ve had a few,” Gale said of course-based queries. “I played with Derek (Ackerman) and Brady (Watt) for the back nine yesterday, but a few have reached out.”
Hidden in Gale’s answers to helping his fellow pros was the fact that the 27-year-old shot 59 during his Monday practice round.
Although not official, the 59 is one better than the course record of Paul Gow at the 2001 Canon Challenge, with Gale perhaps using some of the local knowledge that he isn’t imparting to others.
“There are definitely some lines here and there that I might take, we’ll see,” Gale said somewhat cryptically.
“I’m not going to reveal too much. But there are definitely some things that may be an advantage.
“Where you should miss it and all that for best angles and stuff. I only bought a yardage book to see where they actually stick it on the greens, but I won’t be using it at all this week because I feel pretty confident I know my way around here.”
Also knowing their way around are Alex Edge, Lucy Harris, Aaron Townsend, Justin Hatchett and Brad Fasher as current members. So too former member and 2022 Webex Players Series Sydney runner-up Brendan Jones, whose photo adorns the Castle Hill clubhouse wall.
Beyond the local contingent, there are a host of recent winners and well-credentialled players looking to upset the home crowds.
Both Brett Coletta and Ashley Lau will back up from their Vic Open wins last week, while Heritage Classic winner Matt Griffin and the winner of the two most recent Webex Players Series events, Kazuma Kobori, are also in the field.
There are a total of 16 nations represented in the Sydney field that includes LPGA Tour winner, Jenny Shin.
The international flavour is an increasing factor following the recent WPGA Tour of Australasia qualifying school and the pathways on offer via the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, pathways Gale admits can be difficult to keep from mind.
“A little bit just because it is getting down to the final stages,” he said when asked if the three DP World Tour cards play on his mind.
“I’m not looking too far ahead. If I just focus one week at a time, one shot at a time, do the best I can, that’s all I can control and wherever that leaves me, it leaves me.”
Another 59 this week would certainly leave him in a good place.
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 Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia’s social media channels.
Instagram: @pgatouraus, @WPGATour
Twitter: @PGAofAustralia, @WPGATour
Facebook: @PGATourAus, @WPGATour
Official hashtag: #WebexPlayersSeries
HOW TO WATCH
Round 3: Saturday 4pm-7pm AEDT
Round 4: Sunday 2pm-7pm AEDT
2021: Andrew Martin
2022: Jarryd Felton
2023: David Micheluzzi
60, Paul Gow (Round 1, Canon Challenge, 2001)
Eric Apperly (1951); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant and John Spencer (1992-2006); Bob Harrison (2019).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kazuma Kobori, 2024 Webex Players Series Victoria and Webex Players Series Murray River winner
Jenny Shin, LPGA Tour winner
Matthew Griffin, 2024 Heritage Classic winner
Ashley Lau, 2024 Vic Open winner
Brett Coletta, 2024 Vic Open winner
Holly Clyburn, Ladies European Tour winner
Daniel Gale, 2023 Sandbelt Invitational and NT PGA winner
Justice Bosio, World No.65 ranked amateur
Peter Lonard, PGA Tour winner
Felicity Johnson, two-time Ladies European Tour winner