Walker comes full circle at Tasmanian Open - PGA of Australia

Walker comes full circle at Tasmanian Open

Twelve months ago, a Tasmanian Open triumph was the ideal way to sign off on a strong amateur career.

This week, Toby Walker returns to Launceston Golf Club not only a member of the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia, but in the first months of his training to become a fully qualified PGA Professional.

Starting Friday, the 2024 Tasmanian Open marks the second time that it has featured on the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series after 30 years as a purely amateur event.

The honour roll of amateur winners includes 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, 15-time Japan Golf Tour winner Brendan Jones, PGA TOUR players Mathew Goggin, Cameron Percy and Nick Flanagan.

In more recent years, gun amateurs such as Jordan Zunic, Jarryd Felton, Anthony Quayle and Hayden Hopewell won the Tasmanian Open before joining the pro ranks, Walker joining their ilk with a four-stroke win in 2023.

But it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

With professionals back in the field the calibre of Ben Eccles, 2016 champion Simon Hawkes and Daniel Fox, the amateurs were supposed to step to the side.

But nobody told Toby.

He held at least a share of the lead all three days, closing it out with a round of 4-under 68 to win by four strokes.

It was the exclamation point on his amateur career, moving into the professional ranks after earning his Tour card at Qualifying School two months later.

Walker earned his first adidas PGA Pro-Am Series win as a pro in just his 12th start but by the end of the year decided to enrol in the PGA’s Membership Pathway Program under good friend Michael Dean at The Heritage Golf and Country Club.

“I did my first year on tour and I enjoyed it, but I decided to go back and do the MPP, take a step back from playing golf full-time and try to get back to enjoying it,” said Walker.

“The fact that I want to coach later on in life, you can’t really do that unless you have the MPP behind you. Mike’s been my mate of many years and is the Head Professional at Heritage so he said to come over and do my time out there with him.”

With Dean also in the field this week, Walker’s title defence has taken on a different perspective.

The 24-year-old is not feeling any pressure as the reigning champ, more soaking up the experience of spending a week on tour with a mate.

“It’s more about the week with Mike, to be honest,” said Walker.

“Just come out here and watch the footy at a couple of local pubs and enjoy coming back here and supporting the event.

“It’s great to be able to return to an event such as this as the defending champ and to be able to spend time and have fun with a couple of mates.

There are 36 amateurs in the field along with a strong field of professionals including Tour winners Simon Hawkes, Ashley Hall and Scott Laycock, prolific pro-am winners Tim Hart and Kyle Michel and Tour Members such as Alex Edge, Anthony Choat and Will Bruyeres.

The championship will be contested over 54 holes with total prize money of $35,000.

The Tasmanian Open women’s competition held will also be held over the three days with the Tasmanian Inclusive Championship to be conducted over 36 holes across the weekend.

Round 1 draw

The Men’s and Women’s Tasmanian Opens are supported by the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania

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