Wagga Wagga to host huge week of golf

Wagga Wagga is gearing up for a huge week of golf in March, with the Country Energy Pro-Am set to attract entrants from around the country, and a Jack Newton Junior event drawing the state’s best junior players to the region.

There’ll be a strong field at the Wagga Wagga Pro-Am from March 8-9, when more than 60 professionals take to the fairways along with around 120 amateurs.

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And there’ll be some tough competition too, as last year’s champions Steven Jeffress and Leigh McKechnie are expected to return to defend their title.

McKechnie capped off 2010 by taking out the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic in the Hunter Valley, while Jeffress has started the year with an equal 10th placing at the Victorian Golf Open.

Other notables expected to compete include former US PGA Tour player Andre Stoltz and former Australian Open and New Zealand Open Champion Peter Fowler.

Steven Bowditch, who was a late entry in last year’s event, isn’t likely to return after winning a spot on the 2011 US PGA Tour. His exceptional form since competing in Wagga Wagga last March saw him win the Soboba Golf Classic in California on the Nationwide Tour.

Major sponsor, Country Energy, has once again donated this year’s Pro-Am prize money and the professionals will compete for a slice of $45,000.

There’ll be a new trophy winner in the amateur division, as reigning champion Graeme Cheshire has joined the Australian Senior PGA Tour.

Cheshire, who manages the Cootamundra and Gundagai golf clubs, has won the Wagga Wagga amateur title for the past two years. He’ has now earned a ticket to play at the senior professional level, leaving the way open for a new champion.

The pro-am is Wagga Wagga Country Club’s signature event and thanks to its partnership with Wagga Wagga City Council, for the first time, it will be part of a week-long golfing program for players of all levels.

In a coup for the region the club has managed to secure the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation Classic, which will kick off the week of events.

The 36-hole competition will bring up to 160 of New South Wales’ best junior golfers, aged from eight to 16, to Wagga Wagga.

Local promising juniors – Christina Appleton-Seymour, Blake Jorgensen, Joe Bittar, Charlie Pilon and Kurt Burns – have all been successful in the junior competition over the past year and will have the chance to step up at their local club.

The week will be capped off by the Wagga Wagga Ladies Classic, which has attracted a significant prize purse of $1000.

The Wagga Wagga Country Club has worked hard to keep its greens in top condition for this event and a number of supporters and local Wagga Wagga businesses have made generous donations to ensure the pro-am is a success.

For more information, visit www.wwcc.com.au or email wccgolf@bigpond.net.au.