Brett Rumford (Getty Images)
Brett Rumford leads a strong contingent of local players hoping to do well at this week’s ISPS HANDA Perth International.
The 35 year old three-time European Tour winner was born and bred in the Western Australian city, and comes into the event at Lake Karrinyup with some good form to back up his home advantage.
After a steady rather than spectacular start to the year, followed by a mid-season loss of form, Rumford reignited his season with a runner-up finish at Gleneagles six weeks ago and hasn’t missed a cut since.
“I played really nicely early and made a lot of cuts,” he said. “I had a lot of results where I was around 19th to 25th, so I wasn't building much momentum with top tens and top fives and getting myself in contention but certainly playing well enough.
“The middle part was probably my worst part going through the biggest tournaments, The French Open, Irish Open, Tour Championship, qualifying for the British Open, I just had a real flat spot through there. I was only missing cuts by one or two, but it is magnified when you start to miss three or four cuts in a row, and alarm bells started to ring.
“I had three weeks off where I sat down with my uncle. He came across for a week during The Scottish Open and for a few days we both just sat down and put a few things in place, a few goals to finish out the rest of the season. I did some great work with Warren Kennaugh, my sports psychologist and I guess that's been the turning point.
“Getting my motivation and my intensity back to play the game and obviously play and practice - as a result I’m trying to see the results from it.”
Even if Rumford doesn’t secure his first win on The European Tour for five years this week, he is still looking forward to playing a venue the World Number 229 labels “the Augusta of Western Australia”.
“It's beautiful,” he added, “it's an oasis out here, and it's always had that attraction for Perth golfers.
“It's one of those golf courses that you really cherish, and having the opportunity to come play is fantastic. There are kangaroos out here and the wildlife is amazing and the natural fauna. You're driving through the front gates and it's in this really secluded area you've never been able to see in, so you always wonder what's going on behind that gate.
“I'm just so happy that the Perth International is here this week. I think from a spectator's perspective, as well, it's very easy to get around, so I think that is a plus for the viewers.”
Another Perth resident hoping to do well is Greg Chalmers. Born in Sydney, the 39 year old now splits his time between Western Australia and the US, and believes plenty of people will fall in love with his adopted home town over the coming week.
Chalmers is also amongst the pre-tournament favourites after two victories in Australia at the end of last year helped him climb from 203rd in the Official World Golf Ranking to 53rd.
“I had a really nice year,” he said. “I think it was 25 starts, 20 made cuts; although not enough opportunities to win.
“I really am excited about where my game is at and moving in the right direction, certainly from a World Ranking point of view which is great.
“It's a nice jump and I think to cement myself in the top 50 in the world would be an attainable goal between now and the end of year.
“So it's how far can you go - I don't know. I think the next step would be to maintain top 50 status and then go from there trying to get to 40 or 30. I think as golfers, we're all like, wherever you are, you're always one spot lower.
“There's so much more to this city when you have lived here and you know it with the water and the fishing and the restaurants and everything. It is has a lot to offer to someone who is prepared to travel down here and take the time to come see it.
“I think it will showcase fantastic on TV and I hope that translates into some dollars for the tourism industry. There's a lot to be said for this city, because it's one of the greatest, most isolated cities in the world, it's fantastic.”