While Wentworth Falls golfer Troy Cox finished his first year as a full-time professional by missing the cut at last week’s Australian Open, he can take confidence this summer from knowing he did enough to keep his Australia/New Zealand PGA Tour Card in 2014.
Cox, 32, missed the cut by four shots after finishing the first two rounds on the tricky Royal Sydney Golf Club course at five over (76, 73), but took heart from improving in the second round in deteriorating conditions.
“I’ve played there [at Royal Sydney] a lot of times so I knew what to expect, but I just didn’t get off to a good start,” he said.
“I had a better second round, but wasn’t quite there [in contention] in the end — some important putts didn’t go in.
“It was still a good experience to play in a big tournament like that.”
The talented former tree lopper had an up-and-down debut year since earning his Tour Card through winning a qualifying tournament in Victoria in January.
He missed many tournament cuts, but also had solid results at the Perth International (tied for 43rd), the New Zealand PGA Championship (tied for 39th) and the Western Australian Open (10th), finishing just within the top 75 cut-off to retain his Tour Card.
He also won two pro-am tournaments in Queensland and an equal third in another.
Cox, who used to practice at Katoomba Golf Club (now closed) but now swings his clubs at Leura, said he’s learnt a lot this year from playing and travelling with some of Australia’s best golfers.
“I had a good first round to lead after the first day in the New Zealand Open and it took an hour after play for all the media duties to finish.
“I shot five under and then one under but couldn’t keep up with the pressure in the final round — which is always there.
“But that was a good tournament for me overall.
“Probably the most valuable thing for me is I’m getting more comfortable playing at big tournaments and in front of crowds.
“And just knowing to play your own game and not feel you need to attack [take risks] too much if you fall a bit behind. It’s all you can do.”
Cox said keeping his Tour Card was “a huge relief” and means he can focus entirely on improving his game.
“I hope to be competitive in most of the bigger events — that’s the aim for 2014.
“When you play on the tour the competition keeps going up so you are always trying to do better.”
His first tournament of the new year will be the Victorian Open in January.