He may not be making a comeback of the magnitude of his namesake in the movie Top Gun, but The Brisbane Golf Club member and Touring Professional Maverick Antcliff is hoping he can pilot his burgeoning career to a new high in 2021.
The Beaudesert-born Antcliff is uncertain whether his moniker is related to the Tom Cruise character from the 1986 movie, but he suspects it probably is because he has been ‘copping’ Top Gun gibes for most of his 27 years.
And now, with the sequel ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to be released in Australia in July, he is expecting more digs.
“But I’d probably prefer Maverick than some of the other mundane names my folks could have called me,” said one of the many up-and-coming top gun golfers on the BGC membership list.
In fact, such is the level of talent of Maverick and fellow BGC members and Touring Pros Jake McLeod, Brett Rankin and Aaron Wilkin, the quartet was to have played an exhibition Skins match at the club on January 10. But it was postponed when Greater Brisbane was forced into a sudden lockdown because of a Covid scare.
Yet while the world has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic during the past 12 months and millions have been affected, Maverick’s career has blossomed. On his first season on the European Tour in 2020 the former dual BGC Junior Champion played in 18 events, made 11 cuts and had three top 15 finishes.
“It has been a terrific experience. I played well and am really keen to get back over to Europe,” he said on the eve of the 2021 season kicking off.
From the same home town as one of Australia’s most successful golfers in Jason Day, Maverick has climbed to 255 on the world rankings following four seasons playing professionally overseas.
He first earned his China Tour status in 2017, making the cut in all 14 events he played with 11 top-10 finishes, and was named tour Rookie of the Year. He was limited to just five appearances in 2018 but hit back in 2019 winning three of the first five tournaments and taking out the China Order of Merit, scoring twice as many points as the next best player.
That outstanding result earned him a berth on the prestigious European Tour last year, where he played in 18 tournaments, made 11 cuts with his best performance a third in the Irish Open.
But Maverick isn’t the only member of the BGC Professional members quartet to be making waves overseas.
Jake McLeod, who is also playing the European Tour and has been ranked as low as 139 in the world and was the 2018/19 Australasian PGA Tour Order of Merit Winner, has had nine top-10 finishes since 2017; Brett Rankin, the 2018/19 Queensland PGA Pro-Am series Order of Merit winner is playing on the Australasian and Asian Tour and won the NT PGA in 2019; and Aaron Wilkin will be returning to the Australasian and China PGA Tours in 2021 where he recorded three top-10 finishes in 2019. – TONY DURKIN