Forty-nine years and counting.
That’s the history that is running against the six Australians who are lining up in the PGA TOUR’s Desert Classic at La Quinta in California this week.
The tournament is celebrating its 60th staging in 2019 and it has been 49 years since Bruce Devlin was the first – and to date, only – Australian to triumph in the Coachella Valley, winning the Bob Hope Desert Classic at Eldorado Country Club by four strokes ahead of American Larry Ziegler.
The Stadium Course designed by Pete Dye at PGA West is the designated host course with the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club also to help determine who survives the 54-hole cut.
It shapes as a cut of great importance for a number of the Aussies in the field as they look to firm up their 2019 schedule.
Having come through the Web.com Tour finals to earn a PGA TOUR card, Matt Jones, Cameron Davis and Curtis Luck all need some strong showings to improve their position prior to the first re-rank.
A tie for 29th at last week’s Sony Open is Jones’ best result in six starts this season and he has a decent record in this event, his highest finish a tie for eighth when it was still the five-round Bob Hope Classic in 2010.
Luck has endured a difficult start to his first year as a PGA TOUR member with just one cut made from five events to date, withdrawing from the Sony Open on the Monday, while Davis currently sits 107th in the FedEx Cup thanks largely to his tie for 17th in the opening tournament of the season.
There is plenty at stake for a couple of veterans also with both Aaron Baddeley and John Senden playing with limited status in 2019.
Unable to finish inside the top 125 on the moneylist in 2018, Baddeley has the opportunity to take advantage of the larger 156-man field and make his fourth start of the season.
A tie for fourth after Monday qualifying at the Safeway Open earned the four-time PGA TOUR winner a place in the field at the Sanderson Farms Championship before he finished tied for 59th at the RSM Classic.
Senden is playing on a major medical crisis extension due to son Jacob’s battle with a brain tumour and has just four more events in which to earn 280 FedEx Cup points and maintain status for the remainder of the year.
Although his recent record at La Quinta is not great, Senden was tied for sixth in 2012.
Thanks to his win at the 2017 Shriners Hospital for Children Open there is somewhat less pressure on Rod Pampling.
Due to turn 50 in September this year, Pampling made the cut in both PGA TOUR tournaments he played at the end of 2018 along with the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship.
Like most Aussies, it’s been a struggle for Pampling in the California desert, not finishing better than a tie for 42nd since he was tied for ninth in 2004.
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