BRYCE Pickin plans to use the Faldo Series Asia Final in Vietnam next year as a springboard to what he hopes is a professional career.
The 20-year-old Charlestown scratch-marker shot rounds of 69,67,71 to win the Australian Championship by eight strokes at Castle Hill last week.
The Faldo Asia series, in its 13th year, is for amateur players under the age of 21. There are 20 qualifying tournaments throughout Asia with five players from each progressing to the final to be hosted by Nick Faldo at Laguna Lang Cô in Danang, in March.
“It was a tournament I really wanted to win,” said Pickin, who is in his second year of a commerce degree at Newcastle University.
“You are in Vietnam for about a week, attend a clinic with Nick Faldo and spend a bit of time with him off the course as well.
“A mate of mine, Chris Fan, played in the final in China a couple of years ago and said it was awesome. It’s a pretty big tournament. The winner gets a start on the Asian Tour.”
As well as study, Pickin works part-time in the pro-shop at Charlestown.
“When I’m not working I will be practicing,” he said. “When I finish my degree, the plan is to devote a year to golf and play all big amateur events. After that, hopefully I will be in a position where I can go and try and get a card somewhere, ideally Asia.”
Pickin said a lesson with coach Ryan Smith in the lead-up to Castle Hill helped “iron out” a few issues.
“It was pretty windy, especially the Tuesday and I was able to hit some quality iron shots and putted pretty well.”
* Sydney’s Sung Park will be back to defend his title at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic next week.
The 36-hole pro-am tournament, which attracts some the biggest names in sport, stage and golf is being held at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, starting next Tuesday.
Andrew Dodt, Jake Higginbottom, Cal O’Reilly, James Nitties and Nathan Green will head the local charge.
Celebrating its 40th year, The Jack has raised more than $6.3million for diabetes and Jack Newton Junior Golf.
* Aaron Townsend will be hoping to turn back the clock when he tees off in the finals stage of Australasia Q School at Moonah Links starting Wednesday.
Townsend shot 16 under to win the tournament last year.
Former US PGA Tour winner Nathan Green, who has scaled back his playing schedule, and recently turned professional Dylan Perry will also be playing for a card next year.
* Newcastle’s Josh Robards was the best placed of the Hunter contingent at the Jack Newton Junior Golf Champions Trophy tournament at Bonville last week.
Robards finished fifth at three over after rounds of 65,77,75,70. Branxton’s Corey Lamb (76,69,74,71) was two shots back in seventh.
St Michael’s Harrison Crowe was a runaway winner at 10 under.
Jacob Dundas, Jake Riley (Toronto), Harry Atkinson (Kurri), Harry Cleare (Nelson Bay) and Brij Ingrey (Newcastle) missed the 12-player cut.
* Dylan Perry will be spending most of his time in Japan next year after finishing a tie for 20th at Q-School.
Perry, who made his pro debut at last month's NSW Open, finished the gruelling six rounds at 18 under alongside two other players and grabbed the 22nd card on a countback. The top 25 players secured playing privileges for next year.
"I'm not sure how many starts I'll get, but it feels good to get a card," Perry said.