Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach was the backdrop for defending champion Bo Van Pelt, his fellow American star Dustin Johnson and local hero Brett Rumford’s first shots of the ISPS HANDA Perth International week.
Rumford proved too good a host for Johnson and Van Pelt as the Perth resident took the spoils in the ‘nearest the pin’ challenge with a difference.
The golfers teed off the breakwater back towards the beach - a distance of 158 metres (174 yards) to a pin positioned on the white beach sand. The winner after three shots each was Rumford, who managed to get the ball 2.7 metres from the pin.
Johnson was impressed with his first Western Australian golfing experience.
“My first swing in Australia was a 174 yard shot with a green the size of a pancake!” laughed the big-hitting Ryder Cup star. “It was fun though and a gorgeous beach to visit. My first practice shot was the best and it got worse from there!”
Van Pelt also saw the fun side of the unique challenge. “I was a bit nervous to get it over the rocks, then over the water onto the beach. It was a neat shot! It really showed off the great stuff Perth has to offer.”
Rumford, meanwhile, didn't believe he had any local advantage in winning the challenge.
“I’ve certainly never hit a ball over Cottesloe beach before so there was no home town advantage! It was good fun.”
The ISPS HANDA Perth International commences on Thursday at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, widely acknowledged as Western Australia’s premier golf club. It is the only Australian tournament to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia.
With US$2 million in prize money, the tournament is Australia’s richest tour event and is proudly supported by the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) and the Western Australian Government, through Eventscorp.
The ISPS HANDA Perth International is also partnered with premium brands including Volkswagen, Crown Perth, The West Australian, the Seven Network, Schweppes and TAG Heuer.
Tickets start at AUS$44. Children under 16 are free when accompanied by a paying adult and there are single day, weekend and four-day pass options available. Tickets will be available on the gate on each day of the tournament.
The ISPS HANDA Perth International is in its second year is owned and promoted by IMG.
For general event information and updates visit www.perthinternational.com and follow the ISPS HANDA Perth International on Facebook www.facebook.com/PerthInternationalGolf and Twitter @PerthIntl