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News You May Have Missed: May 2024 - Australian Golf Digest News You May Have Missed: May 2024 - Australian Golf Digest

Aussie of the month: Jesse Linden

The 12-year-old from Campbelltown in Sydney travels regularly to the US to compete against the best junior golfers in the world. His parents’ investment, and Jesse’s hard work on his game, paid off in April when he became the first Australian to compete in the 10-year history of Augusta National’s Drive,
Chip & Putt competition.

He had qualified at a regional site in Houston last year, and on the Sunday before Masters week managed to finish sixth in the competition, five points behind the winner. Linden, who is now based in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, contested the three-part skills competition.

He drove it more than 250 yards down the middle in two of three attempts, while he chipped it to within eight feet twice. It was an incredible effort for the kid who has played the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines in San Diego every year since he was 6. Watch this space.  

Golfers in the news

Hira Naveed: The Perth tour pro [above] played college golf at Pepperdine University in California and secured an LPGA Tour card at qualifying school last year. At the Ford Championship in Arizona in late March, Naveed finished second to the wildly dominant Nelly Korda, finishing just two shots behind.

Ian Baker-Finch: The Queenslander was announced as the new PGA of Australia chairman. The 1991 Open champion took over from Rodger Davis as head of the professionals’ organisation. Good luck to Finchy, the nicest man in golf.

Birdie of the month: Maddison Hinson-Tolchard and Caitlin Peirce

The two star amateurs were awarded the Karrie Webb Scholarship for 2024. The scholarships are awarded annually based on performance in the KW Series and the World Amateur Golf Ranking, as well as ambassadorial duties. The pair will spend time with seven-time major winner Webb in the US this year. Both are past winners of the scholarship.

West Australian Hinson-Tolchard [above] is fresh off her debut appearance at the Augusta Women’s Amateur, while she’s also in her senior year at Oklahoma State University. She is Australia’s
top-ranked female amateur.

Bogey of the month: April Fool’s golf pranks

Let’s do away with the April Fool’s pranks, eh? They’re not even mildly funny and these days just act as a boost to the engagement of tracker accounts on social media, who use the day as an opportunity to post #breaking fake news about Rory McIlroy going to LIV Golf. 

Slow-play warning: Australia’s governing bodies

It’s almost May and there is no date or venue locked in for the Australian Open (at the time of print). Given the power brokers of Golf Australia and the PGA were at the Masters, it would have been an excellent opportunity to announce any marque signings, dates and the host course – with Jason Day, Adam Scott, Cam Smith, Min Woo Lee and Cam Davis all present. One key industry figure was asking me why it was taking so long.

 getty images: tim warner, kevork djansezian, david cannon, Andy Cheung