PGA of Austrlasia Tour Pro Matt Griffin takes a look back at the 2016 season and previews what's next for him in the coming months.
I'm sorry I haven't been able to have more contact over this year, but it has been an extremely busy year, it has been really exciting and rewarding and I will go into 2017 with a fantastic schedule ahead.
After the New Zealand Open win I had some time
off before the Japan season started, I got off to a great start with a 5th place
finish in the Crowns tournament, a famous Japanese event that has a long
Over the rest of the season I made a number of cuts but kept finishing between 40th - 60th position.
Most of those weeks I was only a couple of shots out of finishing in the top 20 but the prize money falls away very steeply, so the money I was making didn't move me up the Order of Merit.
In fact, overall for the season I made 16 cuts out of the 18 events I played but as the season came towards the finish, it would be close as to whether I would keep my card or not.
With this on the line I missed out on three of the big events towards the end of the year, which meant I had to sit and watch as people passed me.
I only just missed getting in these events and as a result it would all come down to the final event of the year, the Casio Open.
Going into the Casio Open, I would be pretty safe if I made the cut and despite a troublesome neck I did that easily and ended the year 72nd on the Order of Merit. Only the top 75 keep their card so I was extremely relieved when it was all over.
I'm not sure why I haven't played better in Japan over the last couple of years but am hopeful that in 2017 things will be different.
It is a tough Tour with strong fields and really difficult golf courses so fingers crossed with more experience I will be able to master it.
While I was battling for my card in
Japan things were completely different in Australasia.
After the New Zealand Open I had a big lead on the Order of Merit and if I could hold it, I would gain a five-year exemption on the Tour plus an exemption to the British Open and two World Golf Championships.
The first event I played on the Australasian Tour after the New Zealand Open was the Fiji International,it has a big prize purse and is co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
I played well all week and finished tied 7th which was a good result and meant I just held on to the Order of Merit lead after Mike Hendry finished 2nd.
After another run of events in Japan I returned to the Australian Open, always one of my favourites on the year, it has a great field and in my opinion, is the most important event on the Australian calendar.
I just made the cut with a late birdie on Friday and played well over the weekend to finish tied 28th, which extended my lead slightly before the final event of the season, the Australian PGA Championship.
It was difficult playing the final event, as I wanted to play well but also had a second eye on the leaderboard. I was well up the leaderboard for most of the week but faded on Sunday to finish tied 40th.
When I finished it was tight as Andrew Dodt was tied for the lead but luckily Harold Varner III won and I held onto the number one spot in the Order of Merit rankings.
Winning the Order of Merit is super exciting and sets up a
massive 2017 for me with plenty of opportunities.
To add to the excitement Liz and I got engaged on the Gold Coast and are now busily trying to find a wedding venue.
After a big year on all fronts it has been nice to get home and relax a little but it won't be long till it all gets underway again. My 2017 season will start in Singapore on the 19th of January before I head to Myanmar for the Myanmar Open.
It will then be back to Melbourne for the Victorian PGA and Open and then the new ISPS HANDA World Super 6 event in Perth.
To round out the early season schedule I then head to Mexico for the World Golf Championship, which is immediately followed by my defense of the NZ Open title.
It is going to be a great year getting to play in some of the events that I have dreamt about playing and I can assure you that I will be working extremely hard to make the most of it.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
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