PAUL Gow isn’t too concerned about the challenge Creswick Forest Resort’s tough course will bring as he tees off today at the Victorian PGA Championship.
The professional golfer only had his first hit on the course yesterday, at the tournament’s pro-am.
“The pro-am is a great place to practice, and I’ll take notice of what the greens are doing then.”
The four day event has 132 starters, with the top 60 making the cut to progress to weekend’s rounds.
Players will be competing to take home a slice of the $130,000 prize pool.
Other names lined up to compete, including Peter O’Malley and Andre Stolz, aren’t prepared to take as many chances.
Both competitors finished third last year, two points behind winner Gareth Paddison, and are vying to take home this year’s top prize.
Stolz said he played golf every day since Coolum, but hadn’t played a tournament since last year’s PGA.
“We’re all in the same boat though – a bit rusty.”
After arriving on Monday to take his son to play in the amateur tournament at Woodlands, Stolz has been playing nine holes a day to prepare.
Stolz said he had not spent much time seeing the sights of Ballarat and surrounds, with the tournament as the only thing on his mind.
“For me, I’m here for one reason and that’s the tournament, so I have to give myself the best chance of winning I can.”
Peter O’Malley, who arrived a couple of days early as well, said that after playing well last year he re-familiarised himself with the course.
“It’s a tight course which helps the way I play – you don’t have to play long, but you have to be accurate,” O’Malley said. “I really enjoyed it and that’s why I’m back.”
After wearing new shoes that were too small last year and having to cut out the toes during the tournament, O’Malley said this year he made sure he got shoes that fitted.
“I’ve come prepared.”
Stolz and O’Malley both said they were impressed by the improvements made to the course.
“The course is in a lot better condition than last year – the greens are in decent shape – the fairways aren’t as bouncy,” O’Malley said.