He has spent more time prepping people for surgery than he has preparing for a golf tournament but Victorian PGA champion Chris Wood believes he can be a contender at the $60,000 Hutchinson Builders Redcliffe Pro-Am at Redcliffe Golf Club starting today.
One of the richest pro-ams on the adidas Pro-Am Series schedule, Redcliffe will welcome a stellar field of Aussie professionals for the two-day event with Japan Golf Tour regular Anthony Quayle, former PGA Tour player Michael Sim, TPS Sydney winner Andrew Martin and reigning Pro-Am Order of Merit champion Matt Millar just some of the headliners who will tee it up.
Wood finished tied for seventh when the Redcliffe Pro-Am made a return to the schedule after a 22-year hiatus in 2019 but has been juggling his golf career the past two months with a new position working as an Operating Theatre Attendant at Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane’s south.
A winner of two pro-ams in May, Wood shot 7-under 65 to run seventh at the Pacific GWM – HAVAL Tin Can Bay Pro-Am a week ago and has been squeezing in as much practice as possible at Wynnum Golf Club around his shifts at the hospital in preparation for Redcliffe.
“Beforehand, I always used to think you’ve got to practice every day,” Wood said of adjusting to the balance between work and golf. “You’ve got to be there for six, seven hours, but what I’ve noticed, once I finish work at 3 or 3.30pm, especially in winter and Brisbane, you’ve only got an hour and a half of daylight.
“It’s really made me just get down to golf as quick as I can, hit some balls, do the stuff I need to do so my time management has been better that way.
“I think I played nine holes before I played Tin Can Bay and I shot 7-under, no practice at all, but I just felt better on the golf course.
“My mind felt just freer, or at least a lot clearer because I was just fresh.”
As part of his duties at the hospital Wood is required to bring the patient through to the anaesthetic bay, transfer the patient to the operating table and put them in the correct position for the surgery they are about to receive.
“If they’re doing a back or a shoulder surgery, you’ve got to sit them up on the bed and get the arm rolled up in the correct position,” Wood explained.
“Obviously the patient’s under, so their body’s just limp so if you twist an arm or if you turn a shoulder the wrong way when they’re laying face down, you can pop the shoulder out the socket.
“You really need to be aware of the position of the body.
“You really need to be on your game especially if more theatres are buzzing at the same time. You’ve got to be able to put the arm boards on or the legs up into stirrups quick.”
Rather than opening the doors to greater opportunities in world golf, Wood used his victory at Moonah Links in January to evaluate how he manages his schedule with a greater focus on the more lucrative events on the PGA Tour of Australasia schedule.
Wood shot 67 in the final round to secure the Vic PGA title so despite the limited practice in his preparation he now has something that he didn’t previously possess.
“There’s definitely a belief now that I know I can win,” said the 30-year-old.
“That Vic PGA was a fairly strong field. Obviously not a tier-one strength field, but it was fairly strong.
“If I’ve got a tournament coming up, I’ll do everything that I possibly can to be prepared as well as I can.
“I definitely don’t want to rock up to a tournament not having swung a club in two weeks or a week or even three or four days and just try and win.
“Expectations may not be there, but if I get off to a good start and play well, post a good number in round one, then obviously some expectations may come in.
“I’m just looking forward to competing again. It’s something different other than working in a hospital and the more you enjoy just playing golf, the better you play.”