BENDIGO golfer Andrew Martin is hoping a strong performance at this week’s Perth International will be the catalyst for a high finish at next week’s US PGA Tour School.
Martin and fellow Bendigo touring professionals Heath Reed and Kris Mueck tee off today in the opening round of the US$2 million Perth International at Lake Karrinyup.
The inaugural event is co-sanctioned with the European Tour, is the richest tournament on the Australian golfing calendar and the field includes US Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and American star Jason Dufner.
But it’s next week’s first stage of the US PGA Tour School that commands Martin’s attention.
The Neangar Park Golf Club member will fly out from Perth on Sunday night to California and play in the first stage of qualifying from Wednesday.
“Ideally, I’d love to be playing in the United States next year,’’ he said yesterday.
“If I don’t qualify I’ve had a good enough year in Australia to qualify for most of the OneAsia tournaments next year.”
Martin probably needs to finish in the top 25 in stage one next week to qualify for stage two in mid-November.
The final stage of Q-School starts on November 28.
“If I make it to stage two I’ll miss out on the Australian Masters, but I’ll be back to play in the Australian Open and Australian PGA,’’ Martin said.
Martin goes into today’s event in Perth on the back of a tied for 32nd finish at last week’s China Masters on the OneAsia Tour.
“I’m hitting the ball pretty well,’’ he said.
“Last week was a tough course. A lot of bogeys, not a lot of birdies.
“This week you can attack more.”
Martin will be in one of the final groups today, teeing off at 3.20pm (AEST) with Englishman Gary Boyd and New South Wales’ Matthew Zions.
“I’ve never playerd here before,’’ Martin said of Lake Karrinyup.
“The greens are quite slick. Typically in Perth the breeze comes in in the afternoon and the greens get quicker.
“When you have a morning tee time you need to make sure you score well.
“It’s going to be harder in the afternoon.”
Axedale golfer Kris Mueck will be the first of the central Victorians to tee-off at 2.10pm (AEST) on the back nine at the Lake Karrinyup course, alongside Norway’s Knut Borsheim and South Australian Wade Ormsby.
Now Queensland-based golfer Heath Reed will begin at 2.50pm with fellow Australian Rick Kulackz and England’s Andy Sullivan.