Rankin bringing Tour mentality to Townsville Classic – PGA of Australia

Rankin bringing Tour mentality to Townsville Classic – PGA of Australia
Rankin bringing Tour mentality to Townsville Classic – PGA of Australia

The $50,000 54-hole event marks the start of the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series North Queensland swing and boasts a field littered with Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and WPGA Tour of Australasia players.

The week of golf begins with a free junior clinic from 4pm on Tuesday which will be followed by a junior shootout competition and junior pizza party.

The Sponsors Day will be held in conjunction with a club competition on Wednesday with PGA Professionals to be involved in a Q&A and Calcutta at the club on Wednesday evening.

Round 1 of the Lexus Townsville Golf Classic tees off at 6:45am Thursday morning with the champion to be crowned on Saturday afternoon followed by a Shootout on the 18th hole

Rankin, who got up-and-down at the par-3 18th in regulation and then again at the first playoff hole to edge Shae Wools-Cobb 12 months ago, won the NT PGA Championship in 2019 and has been a dominant figure on the Pro-Am circuit for a decade.

With an 18-month-old daughter now at home in Brisbane, Rankin is more judicious with his scheduling and is treating his Townsville defence with the same mindset he takes into a 72-hole Tour event.

“For a one-day event, you try and make as many birdies as you can,” said Rankin, the 2019 NT PGA champion.

“You’re being super aggressive with the attitude of, well, if I don’t pull it off, I’ve got a new event tomorrow.

“With three days it’s more like a Tour event. It’s more like Tour golf. It’s a bit more like a chess match instead of a Big Bash event.

“I enjoy playing the two, three and four-day events more. You can play a bit smarter and play a bit more consistent.”

Four shots back at the start of the final round, Rankin believes it was that patient approach that proved so effective last year, coming home strong with a round of 6-under 65.

“There are a few guys that are quite good at making a lot of birdies, but they’re super aggressive,” he added.

“Sometimes you can just be a bit more patient and eventually they might slip up and consistency will come through at the end, which it did for me last year.

“I enjoy playing multiple days and I still love playing golf, too. You’re playing three or four days in a row, it’s quite exciting. It’s just fun to do.”

Not only does Rankin believe that the patient approach is effective in a three-day event, he says that the Townsville Golf Club layout also plays into the hands of those prepared to plot their way around.

“It’s a course that really bites you in the arse,” Rankin said.

“If you’re going with the aggressive play and you don’t pull it off, you can get into a lot of trouble.

“Just be a bit more cautious off the tee and get it in play and then try and score from that 100-120-metre mark instead of driving some greens and bringing out-of-bounds or water hazards into play.

“I’ve found that the more patient and safer you are off the tee, it normally plays to my advantage.

“Last year the greens were quite good, so you can just play smart off the tee, give yourself looks at birdies and eventually hole a few.”.

Given the growth of the Webex Players Series in recent years, the presence of Kelsey Bennett, Jordan O’Brien, Danni Vasquez, Sarah Yamaki Branch and Rhianna Lewis adds another element to the event.

Other players of note are 2016 Hong Kong Open champion Sam Brazel, rising stars Elvis Smylie and John Lyras and new additions to the pro ranks, Jye Pickin and Connor McDade.

Source: pga.org.au

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