They make their living improving the games of amateur club golfers in Dallas but this week Stuart Deane and Todd Balkin will test their skills against some of the best players on the PGA TOUR.
In an AT&T Byron Nelson field that boasts Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and our very own Marc Leishman, Deane and Balkin will have their own legion of supporters at Trinity Forest Golf Club.
Deane, who will play the first two rounds with New South Welshman Cameron Davis, is playing in the Byron Nelson for the fifth time after receiving an exemption courtesy of his win in the Northern Texas PGA Section Championship last year. Balkin is making his PGA TOUR debut having come through Monday qualifying at Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club.
It’s the first of two massive weeks for 47-year-old Deane who was the 1990 club champion at Brisbane Golf Club, who has also qualified for next week’s US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
"This will be my fifth time competing in the Byron Nelson. It is always a privilege to play out there," Deane told AAP.
"It is really cool to play the Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship in back-to-back weeks."
The head professional at Texas Star Golf Course, Deane last played the Byron Nelson in two years ago and has made the cut just once in four previous appearances back in 2008.
For Balkin, a former Sales Assistant at Pelican Waters Golf Club and Eagle Boys Pizza franchise manager, earning one of the four qualifying spots on Monday opens up an opportunity he only ever dreamed of.
A four-year letter winner for Oklahoma Baptist University between 2010-2014, the 28-year-old is currently employed as the Assistant Professional at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas and has been drawn to play with Julian Etulain and Sepp Straka in the opening two rounds.
Other Aussies joining Deane and Balkin in the field this week are Leishman, Davis Rod Pampling, Matt Jones, Curtis Luck and John Senden.
The Web.com Tour is in Kansas City this week for the KC Golf Classic where Brett Coletta, Brett Drewitt, Jamie Arnold, Rhein Gibson will be in action along with Kiwi trio Tim Wilkinson, Steven Alker and Nick Voke.
David McKenzie is the sole Australian in the field for the Regions Tradition tournament on the Champions Tour in Alabama.
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