In addition to the winner securing full European Tour status for two years, the leading player inside the finalised Australasian Tour Order of Merit at the completion of this week and not otherwise exempt to the European Tour will earn the right to play in Europe in the 2018 season, an opportunity that could well prove career changing for the individual who claims that newly introduced benefit.
There are many players within striking distance of the milestone and with three of the leading ten players inside the current top ten already with European Tour status the race is on over the closing 36 holes of the Australian PGA Championship for one of the remaining players to earn the best possible Christmas present.
Brett Rumford, Jason Norris and Jason Scrivener are the players who already have European Tour status through other means.
The battle appears to be between Cameron Davis (not playing this week), Adam Bland, Michael Hendry and Lucas Herbert given the current standing of the PGA Championship although another twist in this story is whether a player wishes to take up membership should he earn it.
Adam Bland, for example, plays successfully on the Japan Tour and enjoys the lifestyle it brings in terms of spending time with his wife and two children in Adelaide. If he were to win this week he would automatically have status to play in Europe but if he did not then he would be in that battle of the place which goes to the leading playing on the Order of Merit.
Bland would need to win $23,000 this week and a finish inside the top fifteen would do that which appears more than likely given he is leading through the early stages of round three.
If not then last week's Australian Open Champion, Davis, appears the likely winner.
Another who may well be eying off membership is the young man who has turned his game around this week after a mentoring session with former Australian PGA Championship winner Nick O'Hern. Zunic can't claim the money list title but a win in the event would give him European Tour status courtesy of the event's co-sanctioning arrangement with the European Tour.
The final two rounds promise much in terms of the potential winner but the sub-plot also provides a tournament within a tournament.
RACV ROYAL PINES SIGNATURE HOLE
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