British musician Lloyd Cole will bring a touch of celebrity to Newcastle Golf Club this week when he plays at the historic course.
The avid golfer is playing a solo gig at Lizotte’s at Lambton on Tuesday night then backing up the following day at Newcastle to film a segment for Fox Sports’ On Par with Paul Gow program.
Cole, whose parents were golf stewards, plays off a single-figure handicap and in 2006 was listed at No.11 on Golf Digest’s ranking of golfer-musicians (with Alice Cooper) on a handicap of 5.3.
The 55-year-old also writes about the sport and in 2010 won an Australian Golf Writers Association award for best feature for a story on Melbourne’s sandbelt. Now he has turned his attention to the Fern Bay layout.
“It's one of only two or three courses in Australia I haven't played, but I've always wanted to,” Cole told the Herald before launching his Australian tour last week.
** It’s a big week for a host of Hunter golfers as the Australasian PGA Tour qualifying school coincides with the Australian Amateur, both of which are in Melbourne.
Dylan Perry, Nathan Waters and Blake Windred start their Amateur campaigns at Kingswood on Tuesday.
The first two days of stroke play will decide the 64 players to progress to the match-play rounds from Thursday to Sunday at Yarra Yarra.
Windred, who played the British Amateur this year with Perry, told Down The Fairway on Monday that Kingswood was short at 6082 metres but challenging.
“It’s quite short, but you can’t hit driver off most tees,” he said. “You have to hit a three wood or hybrid to the corner of the dogleg. You don’t have to do anything special in the qualifying rounds, but even though there’s 64 spots, it’s not easy.”
Waters will try to emulate the performance of another Muswellbrook lad, Kurt Barnes, who won the event in 2002 at Indooroopilly in Queensland.
Barnes has just finished 55th on the Japan Golf Tour with $232,000 in earnings, mainly due to a $151,000 pay-off for finishing third in the Phoenix Championship in Miyazaki in late November.
** Blacksmiths youngster Joe D’Arcy will tee it up with experienced tour players Ed Stedman and Leigh McKechnie at Q-school from Tuesday at Sandhurst.
D’Arcy is poised to turn pro, while Stedman and McKechnie have their cards for this year but hope to improve their status and qualify for more events.
The recently married Nick Flanagan, who is based in America, withdrew. The 32-year-old has struggled with injury in recent years and played only once on the Web.com Tour in 2016.
** Andrew Dodt practised on a sweltering day at Waratah last week in readiness for the Abu Dhabi Championship this week. Dodt resumes his European Tour campaign second in the standings after two top-three finishes to start the season.