Bryden Macpherson, seen here with his 2021 Moonah Links Trophy, gets a rare opportunity for a European Tour start – photo PGA of Australia
As the excitement from last week’s Open Championship begins to subside, seven Australasians and one New Zealander will tee it up at this week’s European Tour event, the Cazoo Open at Celtic Manor in Wales.
The line-up is an eclectic mix of Australasians, two of whom played last week but, for all, the event and its weaker field offers an opportunity to advance their cause.
Brad Kennedy and Deyen Lawson are the two players who competed at the Open and although both missed the cut at Royal St Georges, they get an opportunity against this weaker field and under a less pressure environment to experience a rare opportunity to play a European Tour event.
Kennedy is in the field via a tournament invitation while Lawson gets a start in this event, where many of Europe’s stars are missing, because of his standing at the most recent European Tour School where, although he missed getting a card, he did enough to gain starts in events such as this.
Other Australians in the field via invitation to the event are former British Amateur Champion Bryden Macpherson and Elvis Smylie.
Macpherson enjoyed the spoils of a rejuvenated game when winning two lesser events and finishing runner-up in another on the PGA Tour of Australasia earlier in 2021 and, although this is his first event on a recognised tour since a win at the NSW Open in March, his follow up to his great start in 2021 will be watched with interest.
Smylie played his first European Tour event in Germany a month ago and the 19-year-old from the Gold Coast is generally considered one of Australia’s exciting young prospects. The former Australian Junior Champion has already finished runner-up and 3rd in two PGA Tour of Australasia events since turning professional earlier this year and, looking for further invites to European Tour events, it is important that he does well this week.
Other more established European Tour Australians in the field are Scott Hend, Wade Ormsby, Maverick Antcliff along with New Zealander Josh Geary.
Antcliff played his way onto the European Tour by heading the money list on the China Tour in 2019 and earlier this year finished runner-up in a European Tour event on the Canary Islands.
Hend finished third in Sweden four starts ago and as a three-time European Tour winner, he does have credentials.
Ormsby made the cut at the US Open which was an achievement in itself and then at his last starts finished 12th at the Scottish Open. At his best he is capable of contending and, like Hend, owns three time European Titles.
New Zealand’s Geary has played well in Challenge Tour events in recent weeks and did finish 6th at a European Tour event in Denmark in May. A winner on the Canadian, China and Australasian Tours, Geary possesses still unrealised potential and this may be an opportunity to improve his standing.
Celtic Manor has played host to this event or its equivalent since 2000 although for six years between 2014 and 2019 it was not played. It returned last year despite Covid restrictions with Frenchman Romain Lagasque winning the title.
This week’s field has not one player from the world top fifty in the line-up so there is an opportunity for an Australasian to do well.
England’s Matt Wallace is the leading world ranked player in the field.