Ballarat to host top golfing trainee titles

BALLARAT Golf Club has secured the rights to host one of the biggest trainee professional golf tournaments in Australia.

The 2014 National Futures Championship will run at Ballarat Golf Club from October 20 to 24.

Ballarat assistant professional Dave Wallis said the club had been working in tandem with the PGA of Australia to land the event that is historically

held in Batemans Bay.

The four-day tournament comfortably sits alongside the Rich River Classic as one of two nationally acclaimed trainee titles.

If the championship retains last year’s prize pool of $55,000, it would be the biggest and most affluent event the Peter Thomson-designed course has ever hosted.

More than 100 of Australia’s best professionals in waiting are expected to play, making it one of the strongest fields, talent wise, to grace the region.

There is potential for several international golfers to challenge for the title, including top-ranked trainees from England, New Zealand and South Africa.

Ballarat set its sights on securing the major title after failing to keep the Victorian PGA Championship (formerly hosted by Creswick) in the region last year.

Instead, the club hosted its own pro-am in March – alongside the Midlands Golf Club version – to form a successful two-day Gold Pan Shield.

“The success of that pro-am enabled us as a club to believe that we were able to host such an event,” Wallis said.

“The Futures is massive. The winner of it gets a start in Australasian tour events.”

Ballarat has two trainees able to take part, with Simon Irving and Andrew Cartledge expected to tee off as the local hopes.

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