The dreams of three young golfers will come true at this week’s TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship when they tee off in the Aussie Outback in their first tournament as professionals.
David Micheluzzi, Blake Windred [pictured] and Matias Sanchez are the next generation of Australia’s professional golfers and after calling time on their impressive amateur careers, the trio will mix it with some of the sport’s best at Kalgoorlie Golf Course from tomorrow.
For 21-year-old New South Welshman Blake Windred, the opportunity to play on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia as a pro has been a lifelong ambition.
“It’s been a goal of mine since I can remember to turn professional,” Windred said. “I feel like I’ve done all of the hard work and it’s going to be a good week to start off.”
Unlike the courses in his hometown of Newcastle or those he has played across the globe, the red dirt and luscious green fairways of the Kalgoorlie track will undoubtedly provide a challenge.
“It’s different. I’ve played in Arizona once and I think that’s about as close to this as I’ve got,” he said. “You have to keep it on the fairway and creating a good game plan out there is key. Just hitting fairways and greens like usual.
“I want to stick four solid rounds together. My past couple of tournaments I haven’t really been able to do that but I’m still playing good enough golf to do it.
“Obviously I want to try and have a solid weekend. I need to come top-10 to get through to the next tournament because I don’t have status, so it’s pretty simple in the end.”
Completing his amateur career ranked as the 10th-best in the world, Windred will be joined on the fairways by close mate and No.4 amateur in the world, Victorian David Micheluzzi.
“We’re good mates. We’ve played a lot of amateur golf together especially over the past 18 months it’s been quite competitive between us,” he said. “Anytime you can get one over Micheluzzi the better because it usually means you’re playing good.”
At 23 years old, Micheluzzi feels like the move to the professional ranks has been a long time coming but says it’s even better to do it alongside two friends.
“I’m happy to do it now rather than earlier,” Micheluzzi said. “We’re all pushing each other towards the same goal which is awesome fun. Now we get to do it as professionals and hopefully we can keep that going and have pretty similar playing careers like we did as amateurs.”
While there is now more at stake for the trio Micheluzzi insists it will be business as usual out on the course.
“All I can do is enjoy it and see what happens. The difference really is just playing for money now but I’m still marking the same scorecard and all of that so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing,” he said.
“I’m feeling pretty good. Playing a bit better than what I was at the Asia-Pacific Amateur which was a couple of weeks ago.
“The game is starting to feel good so I’m looking forward to making my debut here at Kalgoorlie.”
Fellow Victorian Matias Sanchez will use this week’s event to learn from his fellow tour professionals.
“It’s pretty special, you look up to these guys from when you were really little and idolising them so to play alongside them is a pretty cool feeling,” Sanchez said. “For me it’s just another week and you just play to win really, just take it shot by shot and see what happens.”
In their first outing as professionals, Windred, Sanchez and Micheluzzi will compete for the lion’s share of the $137,500 in prizemoney, World Golf Ranking Points and exemption on the PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2020 season.
All professionals will also have the chance to win a $50,000 gold nugget and $50,000 Subaru vehicle on the eighth or 13th holes, respectively, if they are able to ace either hole on Saturday and Sunday.
The TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship tees off tomorrow. The final two rounds will be live streamed on PGA TV from 12pm (AWST) on Saturday and 10am on Sunday.