Congratulations to Aaron Pike on winning the Vic PGA and earning his first victory on Tour. Although TI did not pick Pikey, I am pleased for the big fella who has battled injury and really worked hard to get into the winner's circle. Although TI did not participate in the celebrations I am of the opinion they were quite large.
TI has mixed emotions arriving at Mt Lawley this week as last year I tipped Stephen Leaney from left field to win the event but didn't invest in any of the 40/1 odds that were on offer. As is the case with the bookies they are clued in now and Mr Leaney is 15/1 and for the record, TI believes he is a great chance to go back-to-back.
This week I am going to look at a mainly WA flavour through my tips.
Jarryd Felton - we all know he is one of TI's favourites so no surprise he gets the top pick this week. However, regular readers would know that TI rarely picks a favourite for the top pick so I must really fancy the little fella this week. He has won a couple of times on Tour already and will be high on the leaderboard at the end of this week.
Rick Kulacz - another of WA's finest. The mad Hawks supporter would love nothing more than to drive away with the trophy in his lime green Falcon with the Hawthorn Football Club number plate on Sunday night. TI knows Rick is a very talented player and after a few years of grinding away without much success, TI believes Rick is close to getting back to his best. His best is clearly good enough to win this event as he competed with success on the European Tour not too long ago.
Max McCardle - not from WA but a very experienced player. It would be a little cheeky to call him a veteran (TI has noticed some grey's sneaking through) but among the field this week he is certainly one of the older players. Max has been playing quite well in the last few years and really only needs to take the final step and record a win. TI will not be surprised to see Max at the top of the leaderboard this week.
James Nitties - TI sees his link to WA as the great performance in the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth early this year. I don't believe James has been back to WA since and no doubt he enjoyed hopping off the plane earlier this week and I'm sure the good vibes returned. The proud Dallas Cowboy fan celebrated a birthday this week and he may just go one better in the west this week.
Zach Murray - TI fully expects a few of the talented amateurs in the field to perform very well this week but thinks that Zach may just be the best of them come Sunday night. He performed well at The US Amateur this year and I'm sure he gained a lot of confidence from that performance. TI is aware he has dad Craig on the bag and this can only be a positive influence throughout the week.
TI would be doing readers a disservice if I didn't mention Matt Millar, Daniel Nisbet, Cameron John and Damien Jordan as legitimate chances this week given their form this year. I also think young Blake Proverbs from Queensland may be a good value bet and Kieran Pratt and Matt Jager are better players than what has been posted by some betting agencies.
The fight for the amateur trophy could come down to some of WA's 18 and under brigade Hopewell, McKinney, Greer, Brady, Geddes, Fewkes and De Sousa are all quality players and well worth watching for the local fans. However, the older and more established amateurs Micheluzzi, Windred, Dann and Armstrong will be keen to teach these young guns a thing or two.
Mt Lawley is in great condition with the greens quite firm and it shapes up to be a great event.
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