Australian PGA closes busy Aussie summer

The Australian PGA Championship gets underway tomorrow at the RACV Royal Pines Resort, Queensland, Australia.

Adam Scott and two-time defending champion Cameron Smith, are the biggest names in the field, alongside heavy-hitting youngster Cameron Champ and his fellow Americans Stewart Cink and Smylie Kaufman.

Adam Scott Adam Scott holds the 2013 Australian PGA trophy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Smith will be looking for his third straight victory at the Championship and the Queenslander has an astonishing record over this layout. In his last five appearances, Smith has won twice and finished inside the top-10 on two other occasions.

Scott has also won this championship in 2013 and will be keen to brush off his singles loss last Sunday at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne. Scott missed the cut at the Australian Open, yet his familiarity with the course and the unforgiving greens at Royal Pines should see him do well this week.

Aside from the names of Scott and Smith there are a number of younger guns worth following.

Jason Scrivener sits well outside the Top-100 in the official world golf rankings however this season he has carded two Top-10 finishes on European Tour at the DP World Championship in Dubai and the Nedbank Golf Challenge last month and is a player to follow.

Scrivener also finished tied for sixth at this event last year – his second consecutive finish inside the Top-20, making the 30-year-old a real contender for this title.

Min Woo Lee, Zach Murray and Maverick Antcliff will be eager to claim a tournament co-sanctioned with the European Tour while the likes of former Open Champion Stewart Cink, England’s David Howell and Cameron Champ are all in contention. Champ is joined in the field by fellow American Smylie Kaufman.

Champ is a powerhouse player and the 24-year-old has already delivered two wins on the PGA Tour in little more than 12 months.

Champ averaged 289 metres yards off the tee to lead the PGA Tour in Driving Distance in 2018-19, three metres clear of the next best, Irishman Rory McIlroy.

In 2017, Champ registered a 129.79 mph average clubhead speed in his debut at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

A former Texas A&M collegiate player, Champ spent some time on the Web.Com tour before earning his tour card for the 2018–19 PGA Tour season by earning $253,731 and finishing 6th in the 2018 Tour regular season.

Back in September he won the Safeway Open with a birdie at the 72nd hole. It was his first win in a full−strength PGA Tour tournament to gain his playing rights.

A total of six players earned a start at Royal Pines in Monday pre-qualifiers conducted at Lakelands Golf Club and Keperra Golf Club in Brisbane.

Stephen Allan carded 64 at Keperra to finish one shot clear of Troy Moses with Shae Wools Cobb snaring the third spot with a round of 67.

New Zealand’s Fraser MacLachlan took out top spot at Lakelands with an impressive round of 6-under 66.

Andrew Campbell and Sam Eaves also earning their place in the championship proper after finishing one shot further back.