Blackheath golfer Adam Stephens will fly to China this week feeling confident he can secure a place in the inaugural PGA Tour China Series.
The 26-year-old will play in one of two qualifying tournaments at Haikou Island’s Mission Hills Golf Club in Hainan province from March 18-21 alongside 131 golfers from the Asia-Pacific region, including 11 other Australians.
A top 40 finish will be enough to earn a players’ card for the prestigious 12-tournament tour to be held from mid-April in one of the world’s fastest growing golf markets.
China’s top 70 players will gain automatic entry into the tour.
Stephens said recent good form in Australian tournaments gives him something to build on in China.
“I fly to China this Friday and I just have to keep playing the way I have lately,” he said.
“I’ve never played in China before but from what I’ve heard of the course [Mission Hills] you need to play your strokes pretty straight, more important than going for as much distance as possible.
“It’s pretty exciting to be playing in China — golf is getting pretty popular there now.”
Stephens — who in 2011 played in the Canadian PGA Tour — finished a respectable equal-10th at the Queensland PGA in early February after scoring 268 for the tournament, including a red-hot final round of seven-under par.
He then defended his title at the Ricky Stuart Celebrity Pro-Am at Royal Canberra on February 25 in style, scoring nine birdies to card a superb seven-under par 65 to beat runner-up Matt Millar by one stroke.
“It took a couple of weeks after my end-of-year break to gain some good form and it was nice to win the Ricky Stuart Pro-Am again, especially with pro Lucas Parsons in my group.
“I played very well and felt so comfortable on the course, which is one of my all time favourites.
I sometimes get nervous, but feeling a bit of adrenaline on a golf course can be good because you then know you are in a good spot in a tournament.
“You just need to manage that nervousness as best you can.”