It’s a long way from Australia to Mexico but it’s a journey particularly well earned by two of the four Australians teeing up at this week’s WGC event at the Club de Golf Chapultepec in the nation’s capital.
Brett Rumford and Adam Bland finished first and second on the 2017 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit and among the rewards for that consistently good play at home is a berth for each in this week’s elite field.
The pair will join Marc Leishman and Wade Ormsby, Leishman in courtesy of his top-50 World Ranking and Ormsby as one of the top-10 on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
With just 65 players in the field there is no cut in the US$10 million tournament and a last place finish will earn a guaranteed payout of a little over US$50,000.
Money aside, the opportunity to test their games against some of the top ranked players in the game will also be a welcome one for Rumford and Bland who both play outside the US for most of the year.
Interestingly, all four Australians will be on debut this week with Leishman not eligible to tee up in 2017 as he was outside the world top-50.
This is just the second year the tournament has been played in Mexico after a long stint at the Doral course in Miami and it is a layout that favours straight hitting and deft course management.
Tree lined and narrow, the course sits some 7,500 feet above sea level so distance won’t be an issue for the field this week and that should suit the Australian contingent.
All four are average length hitters by modern Professional standards but all excel both on and around the greens.
With such a high quality field Leishman, the 14th ranked player in the world, will clearly be the favourite among the Australians but Ormsby, in particular, has shown some good form in recent months.
After notching his first European Tour win at the UBS Hong Kong Open late last year his confidence has grown and he won’t be overawed by the stars in the field.
Rumford, too, has played enough golf at the top echelons not to be distracted by his surrounds and after his unexpected and disappointing, third round missed cut at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth will be motivated to play his best.
For Bland, who plays the bulk of his golf on the Japan Tour, the week will be somewhat less routine though after qualifying for The Open in 2017 he will have some idea what to expect at one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
Jason Day was eligible to tee up but has elected to skip the tournament as he manages his pre-Masters schedule while Adam Scott has fallen outside the world top-50 and did not earn a start.
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