In what is believed to be a record representation, nine members of The Brisbane Golf Club have qualified to play the 2021 Isuzu Queensland Open, which tees off at Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday.
And the demographic of the nine qualifiers is extensive. Included among them is the much-travelled 25-year-old Sam Howse, schoolboy and part-time Golf Shop employee Chris Somerfield (17 years of age), current Australian Amateur Champion Louis Dobbelaar as well as three Professional members, Jake McLeod, Brett Rankin and Aaron Wilkin, who two weeks ago won the Dubbo Open.
Others to qualify for the Open, which BGC has hosted on 21 occasions in its 125-year history, are amateurs Lawry Flynn, Sam Slater and Conor Whitelock.
While PGA Professionals Jake McLeod, Brett Rankin and Aaron Wilkin were automatic qualifiers because of their rankings, and Louis Dobbelaar and Lawry Flynn were granted exemptions as members of the Queensland State Team, the other amateurs had to pre-qualify earlier in the week.
And so keen was Sam Howse to attain his Queensland Open goal, he toured the north of the state mid last year in an effort to pre-qualify. Sam, who started playing golf on the sand greens of St George when he just five years of age, played in the Far North Queensland Open in Cairns, the North Queensland Open (Townsville) and the Central Queensland Open in Yeppoon.
Despite some positive results – he finished two-under in Townsville and was beaten in a play-off for the CQ Open title – his ‘tour’ did not bring the desired result.
But such was his determination to have some tough competitive golf under his belt, in the past two weeks Sam played the Tasmanian Open and the Riversdale Cup in Melbourne, finishing fifth and 17th respectively. He did not arrive home from Melbourne until Sunday night at 8.30pm, teed up in the pre-qualifier at Virginia 12 hours later and qualified by finishing second with a three-under 68.
This resolve to play his state Open has come with personal sacrifices for the five-year BGC member. Sam recently abandoned a seven-year Brisbane Premier Grade cricket career to concentrate on his golf, and is combining a job with AWX Civil and Construction Recruitment Company with adding a degree in Agricultural Science to his Bachelor of Business.
“But it has been worth the sacrifices,” he said.
“Playing the Queensland Open has been a long-time goal. These lead-up events have helped fine-tine my game and I’m confident I will play well.”
Teenager Chris Somerfield, wo is studying Year 12 on line, also qualified on Monday, winning a two-hole play-off for the last spot in the field after finishing tied 12th at Pelican Waters in the qualifying round.
A Pacific Golf Club junior who has been a member at Brisbane for three years, Chris is coached by Head Professional Joe Janison and is excited about joining the other talented members in the 2021 Brisbane Golf Club Pennant team. And his confidence at the Queensland Open will be boosted by the fact his dad, Wynnum Senior Champion Phil Somerfield, will be on his bag.
Three of the nine Open qualifiers – Conor Whitelock, Lawry Flynn and Louis Dobbelaar – have been Club Champions at BGC. – TONY DURKIN