Early in the week, the PGA of Australia announced that Adam Scott will return to play the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines in December and, later, one of the golf club’s junior members, Hye Jun (Aria) Park, became the national junior champion of Australia with a brilliant seven-shot win over fellow Gold Coaster Lion Higo at the Coolangatta Tweeds Heads Golf Club.
Interestingly, Scott was twice the Australian Boys' Amateur Champion in the late 1990s and two decades on, Park may be on her way to her own professional golf career if her domination of the Australian Girls' Amateur is anything to go by.
Park led from her opening round of 65 and eventually won the weather-reduced event by a massive seven shots.
Park moved to the Gold Coast from Korea three years ago and her progress since joining RACV Royal Pines has been remarkable.
The victory at Coolangatta Tweed Heads not only secures Park a coveted national championship, but a start at the LPGA Tour’s Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide in February 2020 and an invitation to play the prestigious IMG Academy World Junior Championships in California this June.
Park, still only 15, won the Queensland Women’s Amateur Championship and the RACV Royal Pines Ladies Club Championship as a 14-year old and the South Coast Pacific Ladies Classic on two occasions.
Park is held in very high regard by her Royal Pines based coach, Nancy Harvey, a former LPGA Tour player herself, who is excited about the prospect of heading to Adelaide to be with her protege.
It was in the 1994 Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide that Canadian native Harvey first fell in love with Australia.
“I think Aria has a great attitude, great work ethic, is a very good competitor and loves to play,” said Harvey. “She has strengths in every area of the game so she has all the bases covered and so it is now a case of her maturing as a golfer and letting time play its part.
“Aria 100 per cent wants to eventually get to the LPGA and the experience at Adelaide will be invaluable for what lies ahead. I think that is where I have and will be helpful as having played the LPGA Tour for nearly 20 years I think I have something to offer her that resonates.”
Adam Scott during last week's US Masters at Augusta National where he finished in a share of 18th.
The news that Scott will play the Australian PGA for the 5th occasion is a great boost for not only the event itself but for RACV Royal Pines Resort as Scott’s involvement will ensure significant profile for the event, jointly sanctioned by both the European and Australasian Tours, and as a result the Resort itself.
“At the end of last season I had to make a tough decision to skip the Australian summer of golf in order to give myself the best opportunity to prepare for 2019,” said Scott.
“I feel like the preparations are showing and I am happy with my start to the season. It’s been good to be in contention and I feel like there are some positives to build on for the rest of the year, so as part of that I have made the early decision to include the Australian PGA Championship in my 2019 schedule.”
Scott was the first to win the Australian PGA Championship when the event transferred from its long-time home on the Sunshine Coast in 2013, an achievement which received even greater accolades as it came at the end of year in which he had become Australia’s first Masters Champion.
He would go on to finish runner-up after a dramatic seven-hole playoff loss to Greg Chalmers the following year and returned again in 2016 to finish 3rd behind Harold Varner III.
In 2017, Scott returned but missed his first cut at RACV Royal Pines when perhaps his focus and schedule were impacted with the arrival of his first son Byron just three months earlier.
The event, being played the week before Christmas, likely works well for Scott as even though he is now based in the Bahamas he does own a home on the Sunshine Coast.
Scott has given every indication thus far in 2019 that his game is approaching its best once again.
The 38-year-old has logged several impressive performances including when runner-up at Torrey Pines earlier this year along with other good finishes and so his return to RACV Royal Pines is eagerly anticipated.
The Australian PGA Championship will be played from December 19th to 22nd.
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