Tee times for the opening two rounds of the 2018 MMC Northern Territory PGA Championship have been posted with the first groups starting on the 1st and 10th tees from 7.30am on Thursday morning.
Among the many interesting groups in the morning and afternoon flights will be the 8.20am tee time featuring defending champion Travis Smyth alongside 2016 winner, Jordan Zunic.
The Wollongong duo (pic), who will be joined by the exciting South Australian amateur with the film star name, Jack Thompson, are good mates but there is sure to be no love lost when the starter’s gun goes off tomorrow.
With Lincoln Tighe sidelined following surgery to repair a broken Hook of Hamate bone in his left hand, Smyth and Zunic are sure to go at it hammer and tong as the only players able to make it a ‘Wollongong three-peat’ of championship winners.
Last year, Smyth gave credit to Zunic for helping him with his Palmerston course knowledge and devising a game plan for the week, a plan that assisted Smyth to street the field by six strokes with a tournament-record 19-under par total.
Zunic put up a great showing himself in the defence of his title (finishing in fourth place) and it was a point not lost on him as he tried to leverage a beer or two out of the new champion as the pair engaged in some good-natured ribbing, which even featured a mock interview on the 18th green, following the trophy presentation.
Travis Smyth and Jordan Zunic in 2017. (Image: Golfplus Media)
Other feature groups in Thursday’s first round include the 12.35pm threesome of Michael Sim, Michael Long and last year’s runner-up Deyen Lawson, with James Nitties, Jarryd Felton and Cory Crawford heading out just before them at 12.25pm.
Also out early will be Vic Open winner Simon Hawkes, Steven Jeffress and Jediah Morgan at 8am while New Zealand Open champion and current ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit leader Daniel Nisbet will tee off at 8.10am alongside Kiwi Mark Brown and the colourful Victorian, Jack Wilson.
Depending on each other’s results, either Nisbet or Nitties, who currently sits in third place with a little over $187,000, could be leading the Order of Merit when the players leave Palmerston at the end of the week.
Palmerston’s Aaron Pike will start his assault on the MMC Northern Territory PGA Championship around his home layout from the 10th tee at 12.25pm in the company of Rory Bourke and Adam Burnett.