The big improvers on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia in 2023-24 - PGA of Australia

The big improvers on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia in 2023-24

Although they weren’t quite able to make it into the top three on the Order of Merit to earn a DP World Tour card, there were plenty of players on the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia who definitely trended in the right direction in season 2023/24.

Here’s a look at some of our biggest improvers in the top 20.

Andrew Campbell – Up 88 to No.14

The winner of this year’s adidas PGA Pro-Am Series Order of Merit also made the biggest jump into the top 20 of the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit. Campbell’s Tour campaign featured six top-10s, including a runner-up finish at Webex Players Series South Australia at Willunga. Until this season, he hadn’t produced a top 10 on Tour, making the Coffs Harbour professional a prime contender for status as the most improved touring professional in the country.

Ben Eccles – Up 85 to No.8

The feel good story of the first half of the season was the Victorian pro who broke through for his first win in eight years at the CKB WA PGA Championship in Kalgoorlie where he had a five-shot margin over runner-up Haydn Barron. He almost made it a double at the Vic PGA, eventually finishing second behind a charging David Micheluzzi after weekend rounds of 66-68.

Austin Bautista – Up 67 to No.16

Bautista produced a brilliant final day 64 to claim the inaugural Webex Players Series South Australia title by a shot, riding a hot putter to come from four shots back on Sunday. He was back in the mix three events later at the Vic PGA at Moonah Links, claiming a tie for sixth to be right in the hunt for a DP World Tour card into the second half of the schedule.

Matt Griffin – Up 57 to No.4

The former Order of Merit champion was a frequent presence on leaderboards, especially after the Christmas-New Year break. He kicked off January with a runaway win at The Heritage Classic, starting with a brilliant 61 before going on to post a 72-hole total of 24-under-par. The Victorian was also in final day contention at the New Zealand Open, eventually finishing in a tie for third before also challenging at the season finale at The National..

Cameron John – Up 56 to No.7

On his way back from wrist surgery that curtailed his end to the 2022/23 season, the Victorian was having a solid but unspectacular campaign until he arrived at The National Tournament presented by BMW. An impressive 16-under-par tally around the Moonah Course gave him a three-shot margin over Daniel Gale and opened the door to some new career possibilities.

Lachlan Barker – Up 50 to No.10

One of the first-time winners on Tour in 2023/24, Barker was the early leader in the Order of Merit race. He backed up his maiden success at the PNG Open with a share of third at the CKB WA PGA Championship and a T9 at the Tailor-Made Building Services NT PGA.

Jak Carter – Up 49 to No.6

The South Australian’s fine form started in Western Australia with a T6 at the WA Open followed by a T9 at the WA PGA. All up, he had five top-10 finishes across the season, highlighted by a tie for second behind Matt Griffin at The Heritage Classic and a third at the Gippsland Super 6. Not only did he finish just outside the DP World Tour cards, his world ranking halved from No.1899 to No.900.

Nick Voke – Up 26 to No.13

The New Zealander was the joint 36-hole leader after a day two 62 at the Queensland PGA Championship, eventually figuring in an eight-way tie for second behind amateur Phoenix Campbell, and was again well in the hunt on the final day of the Vic Open, sharing top spot after 54 holes, before finishing T6. A share of 14th at the NZ Open presented by Sky Sports solidified his place inside the top 15 on the Order of Merit.

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