Friday, March 1, 2024

Three new players join Golf Australia’s Rookie Squad

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Guan, a two-time Australian Junior Amateur champion, and Crowe, an Asia-Pacific Amateur champion, have recently turned professional with Crowe earning playing rights for the Asian Tour.

Barron is the mature-aged member of the squad at 27 and began his career as a DP World Tour player this month with a top-10 finish in Qatar over the weekend.

The Rookie Squad includes some of the best young players from Australia and the world’s golf tours – the likes of Gabriela Ruffels, Cassie Porter, Grace Kim and Stephanie Kyriacou in the United States and Barron and Kirsten Rudgeley in Europe.

Guan, 19, was excited at the opportunity.

“Golf Australia has helped me all through my career and this is another step,” he said.

“To get that funding is great for me at this stage first of all. On top of that to be able to access the support in terms of nutritionists, physios, conditioning and that kind of thing is awesome.

“Plus, I can plan ahead for the year and set a schedule with some certainty. So, I’m extremely grateful.”

Sydney’s Jeffrey Guan is looking forward to being able to plan his schedule with some certainty. PHOTO: Getty Images.

Golf Australia’s High Performance Director Tony Meyer said the Rookie Squad was not just about providing financial assistance but about guiding young professionals to help them get the best out of themselves.

“We’re delighted to have three new members of the squad who’ve all earned their place,” said Meyer.

“Jeff Guan and Harrison Crowe are really exciting young players and their records show that.

“Haydn Barron is a little older than the players we typically bring in as a first-year player, but we have to factor in that a couple of years of his development were lost to the pandemic travel restrictions, and he’s made good progress including earning his DP World Tour playing rights.

“We’ll be supporting these players in some of the most important years – the formative years – of their careers.

Haydn Barron is making good progress as a pro, securing his DP World Tour card. PHOTO: Getty Images.

“The GA Rookie Squad is one of our most important initiatives, because it’s a fact that some of the most difficult years for professional golfers occur early on, when the cost of travel and setting up a team can be bigger than your earnings.

“The Rookie Squad is about making sure they get through that period and making sure that they don’t feel alone out there in the world.

“We’re extremely proud of the program and grateful for the support of the Kinghorn Foundation, which provides such valuable assistance in this initiative.”

Of the 2023 squad members, Blake Windred, Jed Morgan and Louis Dobbelaar are no longer part of a group which carries a maximum of five years’ membership.

2024 Golf Australia Rookie Squad

•              Cassie Porter (Qld)

•              Gabi Ruffels (Vic)

•              Grace Kim (NSW)  

•              Kirsten Rudgeley (WA)

•              Jeff Guan (NSW)                    

•              Steph Kyriacou (NSW)           

•              Connor McKinney (WA)           

•              Elvis Smylie (Qld)                   

•              Harrison Crowe (NSW)           

•              Hayden Hopewell (WA)            

•              Haydn Barron (WA)                 

•              Jack Thompson (SA)               

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