Nathan Holman returns to the scene of his first professional win this week confident that he is a more mature player than he was 12 months ago.
The Australian claimed victory in just his 16th European Tour event at the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort and made eight of his first 11 cuts en route to finishing 67th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
His form tailed off a little throughout the summer but after a successful first full campaign, he is looking forward to 2017 after shaking off a recent back injury.
"I have matured a lot," he said. "Playing on the European Tour and playing some World Golf Championships, The Open Championship, you start to mature.
"You play with some really great players throughout the year and try to pick up a few things from them and learn a little bit along the way. I definitely come back this year as a more mature golfer.
"It’s obviously been a very big learning experience for me. I started off pretty well but during the middle and towards the end of the year I didn’t bring my best golf, so it was disappointing to have not played as well as I would’ve liked.
"But last season has finished now, we start again fresh this week and hopefully I can begin on a good note again. My game feels in better shape than it has been recently, which is comforting to know."
It’ll be sad to have to give the trophy back but hopefully I’ll be able to do it all again on Sunday - Nathan Holman
Holman will begin his defence alongside countryman Rod Pampling and England's Ian Poulter and is feeling confident being back at a happy hunting ground.
"It’s been good," he said. "I’ve been the PGA Champion for the past year and travelled around the world playing in some great tournaments and visiting some great places.
"It’ll be sad to have to give the trophy back but hopefully I’ll be able to do it all again on Sunday.
"Having won the tournament here last year, you experience those emotions again and I feel comfortable on the golf course. Knowing that I’ve played well here in the past is a great confidence booster and gives me some clarity in my head, so it’s very nice to come back here."
Marc Leishman is another home favourite teeing it up this week and he is looking to win in December for the second season in a row after claiming the Nedbank Golf Challenge last season.
He currently sits at 54th in the Official World Golf Ranking and is looking to end his calendar year on a high by breaking back into the top 50.
"It's only one good round away and I feel like I’m very close to having a really good week. Hopefully it can be this week," he said.
"It would be a nice way to finish off the year. I need to have a good week to get back into the top 50 in the world ranking to get into the Masters and the Majors, so that’s a high priority for me.
"It would be nice to end the year on a high note, knowing that I’m in the Majors next year and win the Australian PGA, that would be a huge goal of mine. That’s why I’m up here."
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