Ask any PGA Professional and they will tell you that defending a tournament title is never an easy task.
Yet for 2018 PGA Professionals Champion Scott Laycock, the advice of three-time champion Matthew Docking will be front of mind when he tees off at Hamilton Island Golf Club on Tuesday morning.
Formerly located in Melbourne, Laycock moved to Royal Hobart Golf Club earlier this year to fill the role of Assistant Golf Professional in a Pro Shop headed by none other than Docking himself, who left Laycock with some words of advice ahead of his title defence.
“I’m working for Matt down at Royal Hobart now and he had a bit of a joke, he said ‘I won it the three years before you did so try not to let them have it’,” Laycock said.
“But we’ll see what happens. There are a lot of good players here so we’ll see but it’d be fantastic.”
In his second quest for the Dan Cullen Cup, Laycock will face a field of 49 fellow PGA Professionals in the 2019 PGA Professionals Championship National Final that will be played in conjunction with the Hamilton Island Amateur Golf Championship and state teams’ Vicars Shield.
The picturesque Dent Island layout will prove the biggest test for Laycock, however he believes the field will encounter different course conditions to that experienced at last year’s event.
“It’s going to be slightly different this year because the fairways aren’t rolling quite as much but they might speed up during the week,” he said.
The long, undulating seaside course designed by Peter Thomson provides a challenge for all levels of golfer. But despite the strong winds and increasing humidity, it is one that Professionals earmark to play each year.
“It’s a bit of a slap in the face with the heat stick when you get here but you’ve just got to be smart about it. I’ve got my bucket hat and I’ll wear my sleeves to protect my arms a bit more as well,” he said.
“It is an amazing venue. I have good memories from last year, I enjoy the course and the challenge of it.”
The unforgiving course will keep players on their toes across three days of competition however Laycock will place emphasis on particular parts of his game.
“Avoiding the junk and keeping it on the short stuff is really important. Putting’s not easy either. I grew up in Queensland but I’m not quite used to the amount of grain that I need to allow for on some of the putts here but we’ll see.”
The PGA Professionals Championship tees off at Hamilton Island from 7:45am Tuesday morning.
To view tee times visit pga.org.au.
For live scores throughout the tournament visit pga.org.au.