Two of the greats of Australian golf have added their names to the Webex Players Series with a new tournament confirmed for the New South Wales Hunter Valley in March 2022.
Three-time Major winner Jan Stephenson and three-time European Tour winner Peter O’Malley will serve as hosts for The Players Series Hunter Valley (TPS Hunter Valley) to be played at Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort Hunter Valley [pictured] from March 10-13.
TPS Hunter Valley joins TPS Victoria and TPS Sydney as part of the Webex Players Series, which is a feature of the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and WPGA Tour of Australasia schedules, and will showcase Australia’s leading male and female professionals along with juniors who will gain invaluable tournament experience.
The addition of TPS Hunter Valley is the next step in both tours’ bold ambitions to grow the Webex Players Series to as many as 10 events a year and is a world-leading concept that comes with the endorsement of one of our greats.
“Tournaments that showcase both men and women represent the future of golf and I am so proud that my home country of Australia is leading the way in promoting these playing opportunities,” said Stephenson, the 1983 US Women’s Open champion.
“I have been so impressed by the young talent that has emerged from Australia in recent years and tournaments such as these are a great way to enhance their profile and that of the women’s game as a whole.”
A product of Bathurst in the Central West of New South Wales, O’Malley is no stranger to the Hunter Valley having won the 2010 New South Wales Open in one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations.
In addition to his three wins in Europe, O’Malley is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia and was honoured to have his name associated with a major tournament that will be played in regional New South Wales.
“As someone who grew up in regional NSW I understand what it means to host a tournament outside our major cities and I’m thrilled to serve alongside Jan as a host of TPS Hunter Valley,” said O’Malley.
“I’m humbled and excited to play a role in expanding the wonderful Webex Players Series events and give our hungry and ambitious future stars of golf an opportunity to reach their potential.”
Scaled tees will see men and women compete against each other for a share of the $200,000 prize purse and there are places in the field reserved for our leading amateurs while top juniors will compete for the TPS Junior Series across the weekend rounds.
The inaugural Webex Players Series events at Rosebud Country Club and Bonnie Doon Golf Club this year proved to be popular with players and spectators alike and gives Australian tournament golf a point of difference that the world is following.
“We saw last year that if we give our girls the opportunity to play on the big stage that they rise to the occasion,” said WPGA Tour of Australasia chief executive Karen Lunn.
“Players such as Su Oh, Stephanie Kyriacou and Steph Bunque all featured near the top of the leaderboard at different stages and we saw the emergence of Kirsten Rudgeley who this year qualified for the AIG Women’s Open.
“Perhaps it will be at TPS Hunter Valley that we will crown our first female champion.”
Given the difficulties in staging tournaments the past 18 months, the establishment and now growth of the Webex Players Series has proven to be a significant step forward for the PGA Tour of Australasia.
“In a difficult period for tournament golf the way the Webex Players Series has been embraced by players, fans and sponsors represents a major positive for the Tour,” said Nick Dastey, tournaments director Australasia for the PGA of Australia.
“We want to see this concept grow year upon year and to add TPS Hunter Valley in just our second year shows that this is a format people want to see more of in future.
“We sincerely thank the New South Wales government for supporting this great tournament concept and bringing another new and exciting event to regional New South Wales.”
Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort general manager Shaun O’Bryan was ecstatic to play a key role in facilitating the growth and development of the future stars of Australian golf.
“We are thrilled to be hosting the TPS Hunter Valley in March 2022. Supporting the PGA and WPGA tours and its pathway for golfing talent is something we feel passionately about at Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club, and so are pleased to help facilitate this quality playing opportunity for young developing players,” O’Bryan said.
“Where better to share the beauty of Australian golf with the next generation of golfers than against the backdrop of the spectacular Broken Back Mountain Range and among some of the oldest vineyards in Australia at Cypress Lakes in the Hunter Valley.”
PHOTO: Gary Lisbon