The Athena player spotlight: Jess Whitting - PGA of Australia

The Athena player spotlight: Jess Whitting

Ahead of the Webex Players Series Hunter Valley last week, Jess Whitting put in a special request to her parents before they made the journey east from Perth to watch her play.

With a few consecutive missed cuts, Whitting thought she’d take a chance on welcoming back an old friend – the Scotty Cameron California Del Mar putter she used as a junior.

After a top-10 finish and $7000 payday, it’s safe to say the West Australian made an inspired call, and that the old Scotty is staying in the bag for The Athena at Peninsula Kingswood this weekend.

“The newer putter hasn’t been rejected, it’s just been pushed aside,” she joked.

Hailing from Marandurah Country Club, Whitting has been honing her craft on the college golf scene over the last few years at Rogers State University and the University of South Florida.

In the professional ranks, her career highlight to date came just weeks into the new year, where a hole-in-one at the Webex Players Series Murray River earned her a $93,000 BMW i4 eDrive35, one seriously life-changing shot.

“It makes me feel a little bit more confident with my game,” Whitting said off the back of her strong week in Hunter Valley.

“My game is at a good place that I can feel pretty confident going into this week, but then again this is my first time (at The Athena) so I have no idea what to expect.”

With the unique format of The Athena which involves skills challenges on day one and four-hole matchplay on day two, first timers like Whitting make take a while to find their feet, but the 26-year-old knows she will be able to play to her strengths.

“The long drive, and I think one of them is like a 130-metre shot, and I’m like ‘I do like that distance’,” she said.

The player Whitting sees as the one to beat is her close friend Cassie Porter, and with the social nature of the event, she suggests some good natured trash-talking may be needed.

“You can’t fault Cassie. You know her game is pretty good at the moment. She’s pretty dialled in,” said Whitting.

If Whitting can make it through the day one combine, she’s confident she can really make a good run for the trophy in the day two matchplay playoffs.

If that old Scotty gets hot on Sunday again, watch out.

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