Competitive field to contest pro-am

Anticipation: Traralgon Golf Club's Jim Murdoch and Bryan Hazelman are looking forward to the pro-am. photograph jada cannizzo






TRARALGON Golf Club is all set for its annual pro-am.


The prestigious event begins tomorrow, with the first group of professionals and amateurs teeing off at 7.30am.


The course has been closed in the days leading up to the event in order to have the greens and fairways in pristine condition.


So great is the field this year, PGA has had to cull the number of professionals. Close to 100 applied, 66 got a spot.


Around 20 players from interstate are competing, as well as current Traralgon Golf Club pro, Darren Cole.


Cole is a three-time winner of the Traralgon Pro-Am, and one of Victoria’s top-rated coaches.


Last year’s winner, Tim Hart (Queensland), is back to defend his title. Hart is currently one of the longest drivers in the country.


Marcus Fraser is also competing. Fraser held a Top 50 world ranking at the peak of his career and has won in Europe and played in the US Open.


Among the A-listers is Andrew Martin, who came seventh in the Australian Open and Simon Hawkes, who won the Australian Open at Moonah Links, and has also previously won at Traralgon.


Previous Traralgon winners include Matthew Millar (ACT), Adam Burdett, Ben Wharton, Steve Jones, David Brandson (who has played on the US tour) and Kyle Michel.


While the field is strong, a great part of the pro-am is for everyday players to experience golf alongside professionals.


The pros are usually very generous with their time, and more than happy to lend a few tips to the weekend warriors.


Truthfully, it is often the amateurs who get more out of the pro-am than the ones there to try and win the prize money.


Speaking of which, there is a $25,000 prize-purse in this year’s Traralgon Pro-Am, while it is also an Order Of Merit event for the professionals.


Organisation for the Traralgon Pro-Am is often described as “like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge”, and the organising committee at Traralgon Golf Club will be hoping all goes well over the next two days.


It has been a busy time at Traralgon, with the golf club most certainly buoyed by road safety upgrades along the Princes Highway outside the club, while cricket great Lord Ian Botham is set to add to the list of famous names to have graced the fairways.


Botham will be at Traralgon Golf Club next Tuesday (January 24).


Who is the bigger name to visit Traralgon Golf Club? Ian Botham or Greg Norman?