The 2017 Race to Dubai will get underway this week with the season-opening Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort, on Australia’s world-famous Gold Coast…
Twelve months ago, Nathan Holman secured his maiden European Tour title in dramatic fashion after seeing off Harold Varner III and Dylan Frittelli in a three-man play-off.
On a brutally tough day for scoring at RACV Royal Pines Resort, just six players broke par and despite opening his final round with a double bogey and finishing with back-to-back bogeys, Holman still walked away with the title after parring the first extra hole. Remarkably, it was the 17th time in succession that an Australian player had won the tournament.
Scotland’s Dan Soutar won the first three editions of the Australian PGA Championship, which was inaugurated at Royal Melbourne in 1905. Since then, the great and the good of Australian golf have all lifted the Joe Kirkwood Cup, including: Adam Scott (2013), Robert Allenby (2000, 2001, 2005 and 2009), Peter Senior (1989, 2003 and 2010), Geoff Ogilvy (2008), Ian Baker-Finch (1993) Greg Norman (1984 and 1985) and Peter Thomson (1967). Kel Nagle holds the record for the number of victories, with six.
Greg Turner was the last non-Australian to take the title back in 1999. He was preceded as champion by Andrew Coltart (1997) and David Howell (1998). The event, which has been held in the South East Queensland region since 2000, joined the European Tour Schedule for the first time last year.
Adam Scott headlines a strong home challenge, as the World Number Seven bids to win the event for the second time following his triumph at RACV Royal Pines in 2013.
Scott will be joined on the Gold Coast by fellow Queenslander Scott Hend, who is bidding for his third victory in the calendar year, following the True Thailand Classic presented by Chang and the Queen’s Cup on the Asian Tour. Marcus Fraser is also eyeing a second European Tour title in 2016 after his win in the Maybank Championship.
Leading the travelling contingent bidding to prise the trophy from the home nation’s hands is Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter, who is making his return to European Tour duty following a ten-month absence. The Englishman underwent surgery on his injured foot, which kept him on the sidelines for much of the summer, but is hopeful of making an immediate impact on his first visit to the Gold Coast.
RACV Royal Pines has hosted the tournament since 2013, when home hero Adam Scott finally took the title after several near misses.
The resort boasts three composite courses, including the Graham Marsh re-designed Championship course which is used for the tournament.
The championship course features tight fairways, undulating greens and immaculately manicured swales, with each nine – the Green and the Gold – posing its own distinctive challenges.
The layout, which is set against a lush tropical backdrop and is just minutes from the beach, measures 7,364 yards (6,734 metres).
Did You Know?
- The Australian PGA Championship was included on the European Tour International Schedule for the first time when it was held at RACV Royal Pines Resort last December.
- The 2016 (December 2015) Australian PGA Championship was the eighth different European Tour event to be staged in Australia.
- The Australian PGA Championship was the 27th time the European Tour has played an official event on Australia soil.
- The 2016 Australian PGA Championship marked the first time a European Tour event had been held in the state of Queensland.
- Nathan Holman’s winning total of 288 was the highest aggregate to win on the European Tour during the 2016 season.
|1||VARNER III, Harold||USA||18||-19|
|T6||VAN DRIEL, Darius||NED||18||-8|