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Hart Hoping To Convert Pro-Am Form At NTPGA

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With an incredible 14 pro-am wins and a round of 13-under 59 to his name this year, you’d be correct in thinking that Tim Hart will be a force to be reckoned with at this week’s Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship.

Yet without full-time status on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, the in-form Queenslander will need to throw everything he has at Palmerston Golf Course, as he aims for his maiden tour tournament victory.

Hart says a win at the Northern Territory, with a share of $150,000 and World Golf Ranking Points on offer, could be the one to change it all.

“A win here would be amazing as I have no tour status this year,” Hart said.

“It would get me a start in all of the big events later in the year and next year which would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about pre-qualifying.

“It’d be huge for my confidence also, knowing that I’ve played well in the pro-ams to bring it out on tour.”

The 30-year-old has been a staple on the Australasian tour since turning pro in 2013.

Six years later, in 2019, he made one of the biggest impacts on Australia’s pro-am circuit, the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series. He credits that to how he applied himself mentally.

“It’s been good this year. I’ve been battling injuries for the past few years so it’s good to be back playing well and I’m looking forward to carrying it over in bigger events,” he said.

“I’ve worked pretty hard on the mental side of my game this year. I went through a bit of a rough patch so just to be better mentally on the course is the biggest thing I’ve been working on.

“I’ve struggled with that throughout my career so just to be better mentally and make better decisions.

“I’ve improved my putting and short game as well. I went left-hand low a couple of months ago and I’ve been putting really well since.”

Tied for eighth position at the PGA Tour of Australasia’s last event, the SP PNG Open, Hart brings solid form to the Northern Territory’s premier golf tournament where his length off the tee will be an important element of his game.

“I haven’t played here for a few years but it’s a tight course. You have to drive it well off the tee which I’ve been doing of late so my confidence is high,” he said.

“The course has always been good so I’m looking forward to getting out there. I’ve played well here in the past so hopefully it’s a good week.”

A player who knows first-hand the benefits of winning on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia is 2019 SP PNG Open champion Peter Cooke, who is already reaping the benefits ahead of the NT PGA Championship.

“It’s still big even though there haven’t been any events on the tour, it gives me the opportunity to plan a long way ahead,” Cooke said of his maiden tour win.

“Even little things like booking flights and accommodation and just being able to gear up. This time last year I was wondering sometimes on the Sunday night on the week of the tournament if I’m even going to be playing in it so the difference is huge.”

Former Northern Territory local Aaron Pike once again returns to the course he grew up playing for the 2019 tournament and has been amazed by the quality of the course following a significant investment in the facility over the last 12 months.

“This is easily the best we’ve had the greens since this tournament’s been on, and the best I’ve seen the greens in well over a decade,” Pike said.

“It’s a real credit to greenkeeper Scotty Trembath and his team as well as everyone at the golf club.

“The course is better, it’s green and they’ve pumped a lot of water into it. The clubhouse is much better, it’s bigger and fully air-conditioned now so they’ve put a lot of money and effort into it which is great.”

The Tailor-made Building Services Northern Territory PGA Championship will be played at Palmerston Golf Course on Thursday till Sunday.

In addition to the winner’s share of the $150,000 prize purse, the champion will receive Official World Golf Ranking Points and be fully exempt onto the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia until the end of the 2020 season.

Image: PGA of Australia