Better timing for PGA at Creswick

PGA Australia has no doubt the earlier scheduling of the Victorian PGA Championship at Creswick next year will improve the quality of the field.

The $130,000 tournament will head up a revamped start to the new year for the PGA Australasian Tour.

The Victorian PGA on January 17-20 will be immediately followed by the inaugural $130,000 Heritage Classic in the Yarra Valley and final British Open qualifying event at Kingston Heath.

PGA Australia southern division executive officer Geoff Stewart said it was a perfect fit, with all three events complementing one another to provide a major drawcard for players from across Australia.

This year’s Victorian PGA, the first time the championship had been played at Creswick’s Forest Resort lay-out, found itself in “no man’s land” in mid-February.

The 72-hole event followed a five-week break on the circuit and was the week before the Queensland PGA Championship, forcing some players to make a choice between playing in Victoria or Queensland.

Stewart said having back-to-back tournaments leading into such an important qualifying event would maximise Creswick’s chances of attracting a larger proportion of the best players on the Australasian tour.

He said this was a real opportunity to build on what was achieved this year.

Stewart joined 1999 Australian Masters champion Craig Spence as a special guest at the launch of the Paul Turner Plumbing Victorian PGA Championship at the Creswick resort.

Originally from Colac, Spence endorsed having a tournament of the standing of the Victorian PGA in regional Victoria.

“It’s great to see such a special event here,” he said.

Spence said it was a great opportunity for the sport in the region. He said these events were all about people.

“Here is a top class event in relaxed surrounds in which golf enthusiasts can get to see professionals close-up.”

Spence, 38, no longer plays on any circuit, although he sometimes appears in a pro-am or a golf day as a favour for a friend.

He is totally focused on teaching and coaching as director of coaching at the Albert Park Driving Range in Melbourne.