By Nick Totten, europeantour.com
From Golf & Spa Kunetická Hora
Last November Adam Scott described Jack Wilson as potentially being ‘one of the best players to come out of Australia,’ and just a few months later the promising talent embarks on a maiden European adventure this week at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge.
The man from Melbourne made a name for himself playing in PGA Professional events while completing his traineeship back in Australia, but he announced his skill to the wider golfing world at the end of 2013.
After finishing third in the Australian PGA Championship last November, behind his compatriot Scott and America’s Rickie Fowler, he earned full status on his home tour as well as on the One Asia circuit, but he comes to Europe this summer looking to capitalise on seven Challenge Tour invites.
This has been a very well-trodden path for those making the pilgrimage from down under in search of tournament golf, a fact that made it clear to Wilson that Europe was where he needed to come.
While his opening round on European golf’s second tier was perhaps not what he expected, after a wet and windy round of level par at Golf & Spa Kunetická Hora, he was excited to have finally made it over to Europe, and of what might come from this latest chapter in his career.
“This is not the kind of weather I expected when I decided to come over here in the summer,” said a rather sodden Wilson. “I’m from Melbourne though, so this is not uncommon. Being over here has been good so far, I’m enjoying it, and I think it is just great to be out here. It’s my first time over to the UK and Europe, and I’m just enjoying it.
“It’s probably too soon to make comparisons between playing here and back home, but I played Walton Heath for US Open Qualifying on Monday, and that was very different visually. The practice rounds I played were totally different to what we play on back home, but it’s great to be here.
“I’ve played a few events up in Asia too, which has also been very different, and I can only get better from seeing something different week in, week out.”
Wilson eyes up Scott's Australian PGA Championship trophy with America's Rickie Fowler
Going toe-to-toe with the man who would later become the World’s best player is no mean feat, and Wilson’s result at RACV Royal Pines Resort in his national PGA Championship last December certainly gave him plenty of confidence.
Just one week later and he played alongside his compatriot Scott in the Australian Masters, and the experience of those first two days solidified something he already knew – that this was the life for him.
“I always planned to come into tournament golf,” said the 23 year old. “Coming to the end of last year I put together some good events and was able to play the whole summer at home. Then when I came to the end of my traineeship at the start of the year, the plan was always to come and play.
“My finishes at the end of last year gave me a bit of a head start on where I had planned on being. Hopefully I can capitalise on that, but I’m loving it, as it’s much better than doing full time hours in the shop!”
“The Australian PGA Championship was a really good week, and I was very happy with how I was playing. I put myself in a real good position with four or five to go, but a storm came through and delayed my momentum a little, stunted things, so you never know what could have happened otherwise.
“That was a really good event though, and it instilled the fact that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, as the thrill you get from being in contention is something you want every week. It means I can come out here, and if I can get into contention again that would be fantastic.”
Wilson plays alongside Scott in the first two rounds of the 2013 Australian Masters
Wilson was also very humble when questioned about the kind words that his compatriot Scott had said about him towards the end of last year, and he was quick to return the favour, as he described the experience of playing with the 2013 Masters Champion.
“I think Adam was just being generous when he said that about me. He’s a Champion, and I got to play the following week with him at the Aussie Masters, and I can’t speak highly enough of the guy. He was fantastic. I chatted to him throughout both rounds, and he offered me a heap of advice that I will take into a number of events for the rest of my life.”
“I think this is the pathway I have chosen to go down because it is similar to back home, and the route it offers going through the Challenge Tour and on to The European Tour. The goal would be to play in America eventually, but if I can get there on a World Ranking category that would be ideal, and I’ll build as a player over in Europe rather than going straight away to the States. All the advice I have had told me to go this way, and I think it is going to be great.
“I’ve been very lucky that I have guys back home looking after me, and Marcus Fraser has been a big influence for me. I looked at him for a lot of advice, and he played a big part in me coming over here.
“Hopefully I can have a few good weeks and get into the rest of the events for the season, as I’m playing off invites at the moment, and we’ll just see how things play out. I’m excited!”
Wilson receives the Kel Nagle Plate for the highest finishing debutant at the Australian PGA Championship last December
The Challenge Tour. Where Heroes Are Made.